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Hip Fracture Overview

A common cause of joint damage is fracture.

Hip Fracture Overview

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Is hip fracture common?

A common cause of joint damage is fracture. A hip fracture refers to a break in the bones of the leg or pelvis that make up the hip joint. Hip fractures commonly occur from a fall or from a direct blow to the side of the hip. Doctors classify hip fractures according to their location.

healthy hip


Types of Fractures

Femoral neck fractures

These fractures occur in the bone that connects the head and long shaft of the leg bone (femur). These fractures can harm or cut off the blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint. There are three different types of femur neck fractures.1

Intracapsular Fracture

These fractures occur at the neck and the head of the femur. Typically they occur within the capsule, which is the soft-tissue envelope that contains the lubricating and nourishing fluid of the hip joint itself. Therefore, this fracture may create a loss of blood supply to the bone.

Intertrochanteric fractures

Intertrochanteric fractures occur in the leg bone between the greater and lesser trochanters. These fractures occur outside the joint capsule and are the most common type of hip fracture, and are less likely to cause trouble with the blood supply to the head. The outlook for healing is good in an otherwise healthy person.

Subtrochanteric fractures

A subtrochanteric fracture is typically defined as area from lesser trochanter and 5cm distal. It may occur independently or in combination with intertrochanteric fracture.

Fractures of the hip socket (acetabulum) usually result from high-impact injuries. They can be life-threatening and generally require surgical repair.

Trends in Arthritis

Trauma-related arthritis is a common cause of joint damage. It results from damage to the joint from a previous injury. After the injury, bone and cartilage may not heal properly which can lead to:

  • Joint losing its natural smooth surface
  • Excessive wear on the joint surface
  • Negative impact on the blood supply to the femoral head or “ball” of the ball and socket joint (avascular necrosis, AVN)
  • Arthritis

AVN is a disabling condition that can cause:

  • Hip pain
  • Loss of movement
  • The femoral head collapsing

If you are diagnosed with AVN and the head of your femur (thigh bone) is not yet collapsed, certain medical procedures may help your body build new blood vessels and bone cells to replace the dead ones. If AVN has progressed, hip replacement surgery may reduce your pain and give you better mobility.

 

References

1. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00392 Accessed 7/16/2019.

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. The performance of hip replacements depends on age, weight, activity level and other factors. There are potential risks and recovery takes time. If you have conditions that limit rehabilitation you should not have this surgery. Only an orthopaedic surgeon can tell you if hip replacement is right for you.

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