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Broken Hip Therapy

A fractured neck of femur, often referred to as a broken hip, is a serious and common fracture particularly among elderly people. As the population ages the numbers of people over 70 and 80 is increasing greatly, many of which have a degree of bone density loss or osteoporosis.

In some cases very limited trauma, such as a sudden misstep down a small step, may be enough to fracture the neck of the femur but the commonest cause of this fracture is a fall. Balance, eyesight and understanding may be limited in some very elderly people, putting them at risk of falling in their home when their mobility reaches a poor enough level.

The fracture is often immediately obvious as broken hip symptoms include that the person is in a lot of pain, is unable to weight bear on the leg and the leg lies in an outwardly turned position and appears shortened.

Fractures can be impacted where the two fragments have been driven into each other by the force of the injury, often resulting in a stable situation. Conservative treatment may be recommended here to avoid surgery especially in very elderly and infirm persons and mobilisation with the physiotherapist will be instituted.

Fractured necks of femur are mostly managed by broken hip surgery of one kind or another. The position and severity of the fracture around the upper femur determines the which type of intervention is chosen.

If the fracture is very high, close to the head of the femur, this may compromise the blood supply to the head if it is just fixed together, after which the head of the femur will die and reoperation will be required. In these cases the femoral head is replaced either with a hemiarthroplasty such as the Austin Moore or a total hip replacement.

Lower fractures do not compromise blood supply and can be safely given internal fixation such as the dynamic hip screw or DHS. This fixes the fragments in position and compresses them together, both to give a stable fracture site and to encourage healing.

Broken hip recovery time varies greatly with the age of the patient and the complexity of their other medical conditions. A very frail person with medical difficulties might have a broken hip hospital stay of some weeks until a placement can be found in a nursing or residential home. A younger person with little else amiss might have a broken hip recovery of a few days until they are mobile enough to be discharged home.

Further information is available in a two page article at About.com:Orthopedics and a personal history of a hip fracture from a sufferer which is detailed and thorough.


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