The Dangers of Hip Fractures

The Dangers of Hip Fractures

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

The hip joint is one of the most critical joints in the human body. It permits a wide range of motion, allowing you to walk, run, and jump. For this reason, when the hip fractures, it can significantly impact your ability to move without pain. The bones of the hip can break at any age, mainly as the result of trauma or prolonged pressure on weakened bones. 

If you believe you injured your hip, seek medical attention because life-threatening complications may arise when a hip fracture is left untreated. 

Hip Fracture Causes and Symptoms

A broken hip may be due to the following reasons:

  • Falling on a hard surface
  • Trauma to the pelvis
  • Osteoporosis 

The common signs and symptoms of a broken hip include the following:

  • Pain in the hip bones
  • Uneven legs
  • Inability to walk
  • Inflammation of the pelvis
  • Bruising

Dangers of Hip Fractures

A broken hip is a grave condition that can eventually be life-threatening. That’s why it is essential to seek medical attention to minimize the possible risks associated with a hip fracture. Described below are some dangers of a hip fracture:

1.   Reduced Bone Density and Muscle Mass

As you age, your bone density and muscle mass begin to decrease. Hip fractures are more prevalent among the elderly because they are more prone to osteoporosis. As a result, bones become weak and fragile. A hip fracture can cause additional loss of bone density and muscle mass. In turn, this further heightens the risk of falling – and future fractures – due to balance and mobility problems.

2.   Increased Recovery Time

Recovery times vary among patients, but generally speaking, recovery from a hip fracture surgery can take anywhere from 1 to 6 months. Older individuals may need a longer time to heal, as will those with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. Furthermore, the type of hip injury you experience also has a bearing on your recovery time. For instance, an intracapsular break – in which the “ball” atop your femur breaks, which can affect the delivery of the nutrient-rich blood to bone tissue, leading to further bone collapse, and a longer recovery after surgery. 

3.   Additional Complications

The trauma from a hip injury – as well as from the surgery to treat it – is enough to cause possible additional complications. Being immobile for a length of time can lead to a host of problems such as blood clots, bedsores, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.

4.   Death

Hip fractures increase your mortality risk. When a hip fracture is left untreated, it can eventually result in death. Several factors that contribute to this include the following:

  • Accidental falls
  • Cardiovascular, pulmonary, or neurological issues
  • Pressure ulcers and pneumonia

Furthermore, hip fractures can lessen your independence. For instance, about half of the people with a hip fracture become reliant on other people to carry out their daily activities. Thus, they have a difficult time regaining their ability to live independently in the long run. 

Orthopedic Services in Tennessee

Having flexible and robust hip joints allow us to walk, run, and jump with ease. Hip fractures threaten our ability to move without pain, and these breaks can happen to the young and old alike. If hip fractures are left untreated, or sometimes even after surgery, complications can result, including death. Thus, seeking medical attention as soon as possible may be one of the wisest decisions you make.

Visit us at Watauga Orthopaedics if you have any questions or concerns about hip fractures. Our staff and specialists are more than willing to help. To reach us, you may call (423) 282-9011 or request your appointment online now.