A hip fracture is a crack in the top of the femur (thigh bone) close to the hip joint. Hip fractures are usually due to an injury or a fall to the hip side, but occasionally they can occur due to a health condition such as certain cancers that weaken the hip bone.
Falls are more common among older people, especially in people who are over 80 and have reduced mobility or vision and balance problems. Hip fractures are common in women who are also more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones.
Hip fracture symptoms
Symptoms of the hip fracture after a fall might include:
- Hip pain
- Unable to move, lift, or rotate your legs
- Unable to put pressure on your legs or stand
- Swelling and bruising around your hip
- The injured leg appears shorted than another leg
- The injured leg is turning outwards
Also, a hip fracture doesn’t particularly cause bruising or prevent you from walking or standing.
Hip fracture treatments
The only option for a hip fracture is surgery. It’s recommended to have surgery within 48 hours of hip fracture, but the surgery can delay if the person is unwell or has other health conditions. Most cases require a complete or partial hip replacement, while others require surgery to fix with plates, screws, or rods.
The surgery type will depend on multiple factors, including:
- Type of the fracture
- Level of mobility before the injury
- Bone and joint conditions; for example, arthritis
Hip fracture surgery complications
Hip surgery complications can include:
- Infection: Requires further tests, treatments, and often another surgery.
- Blood clots: Forms deep leg veins, leading to reduced movement.
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores): Happen on skin that’s under constant pressure
The surgeon discusses all the risks with you before the hip surgery.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022