Hip Fracture Types and Complications

Hip Fracture Types and Complications

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

A hip is a ball-and-socket joint that allows the upper leg to bend and rotate at the pelvis. Hip joints are quite susceptible to fracture, primarily due injury (especially falls) or wear and tear.  Medical conditions – from stress injuries and osteoporosis to cancer – can also increase a person’s risk of incurring hip fractures. Unfortunately, hip fractures are not known for healing themselves; that’s why it’s essential to see an orthopedist as soon as you believe you might have fractured your hip. Below are some of the more common hip fractures and what sort of complications you may expect if you delay or seek improper treatment.

Common Types of Fractures

Some of the more common hip fractures include –

  • Femoral Neck Fractures, which occur in close proximity to the hip joint – usually within one to two inches – and are most common in the elderly and people with osteoporosis. The femoral neck accounts for the majority of hip fractures, and are located where the ball-part of your thigh bone rests in the socket, just below of which is the femoral neck.
  • Intertrochanteric Hip Fractures, which occur a few inches further down than femoral neck fractures; these can be easier to repair than a femoral neck fracture.
  • Subtrochanteric Fracture, which occur deeper into the bone, when the femur is broken into small pieces. Oftentimes caused by severe accidents like car crashes or falls, these fractures often necessitate a lengthy recovery period.

Complications that Result from Hip Fractures

Fractures, when ignored or improperly treated, can result in loss of motion, stiffness and severe pain. Following the injury you may experience swelling or bruising in the hip; more serious complications that can result from a hip fracture – especially for the elderly – include pneumonia, muscle atrophy, [post-operative] infection, and bedsores from being sedentary or in traction for long periods of time.

Hip fractures can tear the blood vessels and cut off blood supply to the femoral head; should this happen, bone tissue can die, leading to the eventual collapse of the bone. One common complication that can result from a hip fractures is that the joint may not heal properly, creating opportunity for more fractures in the already compromised joint; this may also cause a healthy joint to overcompensate and become injured, too.

Of great concern, blood clots may form, usually in the legs, that can break off and travel to the lungs in the form of a potentially fatal pulmonary embolism, can be fatal.

Treating Hip Fractures and Other Orthopedic Concerns in Tennessee

If you are looking for the best orthopedic care in Tennessee, look no further than Watauga Orthopaedics. Our expert staff offers treatment for a variety of conditions, to include joint replacements, pediatric orthopedics and sports medicine care.  Need immediate orthopedic care? Our Urgent Care Clinic offers walk-in urgent care for kids and grown-ups. When it comes to fractures, your hips don’t lie. Be seen immediately before a small fracture becomes a life-threatening emergency. Contact Watauga Orthopaedics today at (423) 282-9011 today, or use our online appointment request form to be seen at our Johnson City, Bristol or Kingsport locations.