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Hip Fracture

What is Hip Fracture?

The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint. The “ball” is the head of the femur or thighbone, and the “socket” is the cup-shaped acetabulum. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular surface that allows pain-free movement in the joint. 

A hip fracture is a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thighbone. The most common hip fractures involve the femoral neck and the intertrochanteric (pertrochanteric) region of the hip.

Causes of Hip Fractures

Hip fracture is most frequently caused after minor trauma in elderly patients with weak bones, and by high-energy trauma or serious injuries in the young.

Signs and Symptoms of Hip Fractures

The signs and symptoms of hip fractures include:

  • Pain in the groin or outer upper thigh
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Discomfort while rotating the hip
  • Shortening of the injured leg 
  • Outward or inward turning of the foot and knee of the injured leg

Diagnosis of Hip Fractures

Your doctor may order an X-ray to diagnose your hip fracture. Other imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may also be performed to detect the fracture. 

Depending on the area of the femur involved, the most common hip fractures are classified as:

  • Femoral neck fracture (also known as intracapsular fracture)
  • Intertrochanteric fracture (also known as extracapsular fracture)

Treatments for Hip Fractures

Hip fractures are typically treated with surgery. In general, intertrochanteric (extracapsular) hip fractures are treated with screws and a plate or rod. Femoral neck (intracapsular) fractures are treated with screws, partial hip replacement, or total hip replacement.