Broken Hip Recovery
Fractured neck of femur (#NOF) is the medical term for what most people call a broken hip, a very common fracture following a fall in an eldelry person. As the population of the UK ages the numbers or people in their 70s and 80s increases, increasing the numbers of people with reduced bone density or osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis makes bone fragile and vulnerable to shocks and falls, falls being the most common reason for this kind of fracture. Older people may have poor vision and impaired balance which are risks, along with many others, for falling.
Broken hip symptoms are not hard to interpret and include a shortened and outwardly rotated leg, loss of the ability to weight bear on the leg and and pain around the groin and hip. Broken hip therapy can be conservative if the fracture is impacted (rammed together by the fall) and the patient mobilised with the physiotherapist. However, most management of these conditions is by broken hip surgery.
Surgery varies depending on the location and severity of the fracture. High fractures near the ball of the hip threaten the blood supply to the ball and so in elderly persons these are replaced by using a hemiarthroplasty such as the Austin Moore prosthesis.
Lower fractures are typically fixed with internal fixation devices such as the dynamic hip screw or DHS. Broken hip recovery time will vary with the age and medical status of the person concerned, although younger and fitter patients will be able to mobilise with the physiotherapist and go home within a few days.
However for older people with pre-existing medical conditions the broken hip hospital stay can be much longer, weeks or more, until a place is found in a residential or nursing home which may be needed on a long term basis. Many elderly patients do not recover their independence or their mobility after this kind of injury.