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ask: How can you break your hip without falling?

By Anonymous
 
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I had a relative who was recently diagnosed with a broken hip although she never feel or experienced trauma. She said she felt what she describes as a groin pull and spent sometime walking around on it. What is the cause of this? What is the typical treatment for this type of injury? Will it require surgery?

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Michelle King Robson Expert HERWriter

Hello there and thank you for your question! I was diagnosed with osteopenia, the precursor for osteoporosis, awhile back and have done a ton of reading on hip fractures and brittle bones, etc., so this question is very interesting to me. I'm very sorry that your relative is having to go through this. What alison b wrote above is right on in terms of how the hip fractures often happen. We think of older people as falling and breaking their hips, but in reality the hip often breaks, and then they fall. And much of the time, it is due to a condition like what alysiak mentioned above, like osteoporosis.

I'm not sure that there is a typical treatment as such, because so much will depend on the age, overall health, etc., of the person. In two cases that I know of where the women with broken hips were already into their early 80s when it happened, they were in the hospital for a short time and then transferred to a facility where they could be cared for and do physical therapy. Both women are doing great now.

I hope your relative has a speedy recovery and that they can figure out the cause behind it and help make sure it does not happen again. Best of health to you both, Michelle

March 10, 2009 - 11:47pm
alysiak

Hi, Anon:

Mind if I ask: how old is your relative, and how physically active? Were there mitigating health issues, like osteoporosis or degenerative arthritis? What is your relative's diet like?

I ask because this sort of information might help others among our members become more aware of their own health issues, or that of their relatives.

Thanks for your ASK.

March 10, 2009 - 4:40pm
Alison Beaver

Hi anon,

While a large majority of broken hips (also called "hip fractures") do occur in the elderly from a fall, hip fractures can be caused from a bone weakened from osteoporosis, a cyst or infection. Just as a bone in your foot can sustain a stress fracture, so can the hip bone. According to MedlinePlus, "elderly patients with bones weakened by osteoporosis, relatively little trauma, even walking, may result in a hip fracture".

Can you tell us more about her broken hip? What part of the hip has been broken? To answer your question about treatment and surgery, would depend on the type of break (defined by the location of the break in the bone), as well as the age of your relative, any other medical conditions, etc.

I hope to hear from you soon! In the meantime, you can review some of the following resources:
- EmpowHer Hip Fracture Encyclopedia
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS)
- Mayo Clinic

March 10, 2009 - 1:43pm
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