Hip fractures occur for a number of reasons and diagnosing one is not always as simple as you might think. Hip pain is the primary symptom of a fractured hip. However, that pain could be from an actual fracture, or pain from an injury, fall or condition that could potentially cause a fracture. Your physician will typically use X-rays to determine if you have fractured your hip, however an MRI may also be necessary. An MRI will make visible small fractures that an X-ray may not pick up. Placing weight on your legs may cause a fractured hip to displace, or move apart. Then your bones will no longer line up correctly. A displaced fracture significantly increases the risk that damage can occur to the hip’s blood supply, causing even further complications in treating the fractured hip. When the blood flow to your hip is stopped, the bone will die, leading to further complications.
Surgery is the most common treatment for hip fractures. Ideally, surgery will be performed within 24 hours of the occurrence of the fracture. The type of surgery you have will depend on the three things: the location of the fracture in the bone, the severity of the fracture, and your age. Most hip fractures are treated in one of three ways: by repairing it with hardware, replacing part of the femur or replacing the entire hip joint. Total hip replacement may be a good option if arthritis or a prior injury has damaged your joint, affecting its function even before your hip fracture.
If hip replacement surgery is performed, you will need several weeks of rehabilitation afterward, designed to get you moving again. Your physical therapist will begin working with you shortly after your surgery is completed. Movement is critical in order to avoid post-surgical complications.
With the direct anterior approach to hip replacement, preferred by our surgeons, you will have no restrictions on your range of motion. If you have had your hip surgery procedure performed as an outpatient at Seaside Surgery Center, you will be heading home the same day as your surgery.
There are a few things you can do to prepare for your return home that will contribute to a swift and safe rehabilitation from your hip fracture surgery:
- Wear shoes with sturdy, flat, non-slip soles
- Arrange your home in a manner that keeps important items within easy reach
- Take measures to prevent falls by removing throw rugs, electrical cords and other objects that might be underfoot
- Use a fanny pack, aprons or pockets to carry things, in order to free up your hands so you can use them to help you keep your balance
- Make sure you have adequate lighting in all of your traffic paths
- Use “no-slip” bath mats in your tub and/or shower
- You may wish to install grab bars, a shower chair and an elevated toilet seat in your bathroom