Hip Fractures

It’s common for a hip fracture to happen after a fall or some type of impact to the hip. Hip fractures in elderly individuals are common, but this type of injury can happen to anybody. 

When a fracture to the hip occurs, surgery is likely. Dr. John Andrachuk specializes in hip fractures with years of experience. Whether the injury was caused by a fall or from playing a sport, the right Orthopedic Sports Medicine surgeon in Atlanta will make a difference.

What is a Hip Fracture?

A fracture happens anytime the continuity of a bone is broken. Whether it’s a hairline hip fracture or a more severe break, it’s still considered a fracture. 

The bone involved in a hip fracture is the femur or thigh bone. This bone attaches to the pelvic bone, through a ball and socket joint. The neck of the femur bone is a common spot for a hip fracture to occur. This is known as a femoral neck fracture.

What are the Most Common Hip Fracture Types?

Hip fracture types are classified by the location of the break. The two most common types of hip fractures are:

  • Extracapsular Fractures – When the break happens outside of the joint capsule, it’s known as an extracapsular hip fracture. 
  • Intracapsular Fractures – When the break happens below the neck of the femur or the ball, within the joint capsule, it’s known as an intracapsular hip fracture.

Extracapsular fractures are also split into additional classifications including:

  • Intertrochanteric
  • Trochanteric
  • Subtrochanteric

The classification is based on where the fracture occurs on the femur bone.

Hip Fracture Symptoms

Sometimes, it can be difficult to diagnose a hip fracture, especially if it’s a hairline hip fracture. However, there are some hip fracture symptoms you can look for if you’ve suffered a fall or an injury to the hip. 

Some of the common hip fracture symptoms include:

  • Inflammation, bruising and swelling around the area of the fracture
  • Inability to stand, walk or run without experiencing severe pain
  • One leg appears to be shorter than the other
  • Pain of varying severity throughout the hip area
  • Difficulty turning the foot outward

If you’ve experienced any of these symptoms after a fall or injury, it’s a good idea to seek medical help.

Most Common Causes of Hip Fractures

Whether you’ve suffered a hip stress fracture or a hairline hip fracture, certain things are most likely the cause of the fractures. Some of the common causes of a hip fracture include:

  • Slip and Fall Accidents – the most common cause of hip fractures in the elderly, slip and fall accidents may cause a hip fracture. 
  • Accident – A car accident or another type of accident can cause a fracture to the hip.
  • Sports Injury – Full contact sports, such as football put players in compromising positions. The impact of a collision to the hip may cause a hip fracture.
  • Obesity – The femur bears the weight of the body and an increased amount of stress on this bone may cause a fracture. Even if obesity isn’t the cause of the hip fracture, it can put a person at a higher risk due to a fall or impact to the hip.
  • Repetitive, vigorous physical activity – Some high-intensity activities may lead to a hip stress fracture over time. Repetitive high-intensity activities can also cause a hairline fracture of the hip. 

Most Common Risk Factors for Hip Fractures

Certain factors may cause a higher risk of a hip fracture occurring. The most common things putting an individual at a higher risk of a hip fracture include:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Underlying Medical Conditions
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Gender (women are at a higher risk than men)
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Certain Medication (anti-cancer drugs, steroids, etc.)

These factors can cause an individual to be more likely to suffer from a hip fracture.

How Hip Fractures are Diagnosed

If you think you’ve suffered a hip fracture after a fall or an impact to the hip, it’s time to see a doctor. A physical evaluation will be done to assess your pain level, restriction of movement, and swelling. If the doctor suspects you may have suffered a hip fracture, X-rays will likely be taken.

When the doctor still cannot diagnose the potential hip fracture from X-rays, it’s necessary to have an MRI done. An MRI is most useful in diagnosing hairline hip fractures hard to see on plain X-rays.

Hip Fracture Treatment

The most common treatment for a hip fracture is surgery. When hip fracture surgery is used, the goal will be to decrease the pain, increase mobility, prevent any complications, and stabilize the fracture to prevent any further damage. 

Depending on your age or any underlying medical conditions, your doctor may recommend a specific type of hip fracture surgery. 

Types of Hip Fracture Surgery

Hip Replacement

A common type of surgery for hip fractures in the elderly, a hip replacement is recommended for those 65 years of age and older. It may also be a viable option if the fracture is old. 

Partial hip replacements and total hip replacements are available options, depending on the situation. 

Fracture Repair Surgery

Also known as fixation of the fracture, hip fracture repair surgery is used in all extracapsular fracture cases. The fracture may be fixed with screws or compression plates and screws, which is known as a DHS. PFM or proximal femoral nailing is another option to repair extracapsular hip fractures.

Fixation may also be done in intracapsular fracture cases with cannulated screws or with DHS. This is common for patients age 60 to 65 and for fresh hip fractures.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

Dr. Andrachuk offers extensive experience in treating all types of hip disorders including hip fractures. If you’re experiencing hip pain or you’ve recently suffered a fall or accident, it’s time to seek medical help. Dr. Andrachuk offers conservative treatment, along with the latest arthroscopic and minimally invasive techniques to ease your hip pain and get you back to living your life. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!