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Are You Hip about Hip Fractures?

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My aunt sustained a hip fracture a couple of years ago and it has been a long journey through recovery. She went from a relatively mobile individual, with a few physical problems, to someone who installed a chair lift at home to enable her to get up stairs. Her lifestyle has changed, but enduring a hip fracture does not mean the end of an active life.

A hip fracture is simply more than a broken bone. For someone in the afternoon of life, a hip fracture may make for a major lifestyle change. Surgery may be required, and the recovery process can take up to a year. Physical therapy can aid in your recovery, but you will most likely need support from family members and/or a caregiver during your recovery.

Hip fractures usually occur in people age 65 or older. Most sustain a fracture near the upper portion of the thighbone or the femur. The number one reason for a hip fracture is falling. As one ages, the bones become weakened and are more likely to break, even with a minor fall. When hip fractures are seen in younger people, they are generally the result of a bicycle or car accident, or even a sporting injury.

Other risk factors include sex, a family history of fractures later on in life, eating habits that do not allow for enough calcium and vitamin D, a sedentary lifestyle, a habit of smoking, the condition of arthritis, and taking certain medications that cause bone loss.

If you have sustained a hip fracture, the pain will most definitely alert you to the problem. You will notice intense pain in your hip or lower groin region. Walking or putting weight on your leg will probably be impossible.

An x-ray is the first tool of diagnosis of a hip fracture. If the x-ray does not confirm a fracture, an MRI, CT scan, or bone scan may be the alternative.

As for treatment, surgical intervention will most likely be necessary. Surgery works well, but a high degree of patience in the recovery process is required. The road to recovery can be long, and it's to realize that you might not ever get around as well as you did prior to the fracture.

In some surgical cases, the doctor may have to insert metal screws, a metal plate, or a rod into your hip to correct the fracture. In other cases, a hip replacement may be required.

Becoming ambulatory immediately after surgery is encouraged to help prevent post-surgical problems such as pneumonia, blood clots, and bed sores. When you stay in bed for an extended period of time, you open yourself up to these unwelcome conditions. You will need assistance in the recovery process, but the more active you are in your care and follow-up routines, the more quickly you will improve.

So, how do you prevent a hip fracture in the first place? The most important focus should be on preventing osteoporosis, which can happen to men and women, but is more common in women. Be sure to get enough calcium and vitamin D into your diet. Consult your physician about introducing estrogen after menopause. Consume calcium-rich foods such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products. Avoid the trappings of alcohol and tobacco. Do simple weight-bearing exercises such as walking and incorporate it into your daily routine.

To avoid falls, arrange your furniture at home to avoid tripping. Throw rugs and electrical cords are a common culprit for falls, so make sure all walkways in your home have access to good lighting. Place handles in showers and in tubs. When outdoors, wear sturdy shoes with flat soles. Have a thorough eye exam. In winter weather, avoid the icy or snowy sidewalks. And, as is typically recommended, get plenty of walking exercise in! Putting one foot in front of the other is a great way to stay on the road of prevention!

(Information for this article was found at http://www.aolhealth.com/conditions/hip-fracture-mini-1?flv=1)

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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