A hip fracture is more than a broken bone. If you are older, breaking your hip can mean a major change in your life. You will probably need surgery, and it can take as long as a year to recover. Activity and physical therapy can help you get your strength and mobility back.
Most people break their hip near the upper part of the thighbone (femur) . It usually happens near where the thigh bone fits into the hip joint.
Doctors use X-rays to diagnose a broken hip. You may need another test if your doctor thinks that you have a fracture but can’t see it on an X-ray. You might have a test such as:
- An MRI, which gives better images of bones and soft tissues.
- A CT scan, another way of getting more detailed images.
- A bone scan, which involves injecting a dye, then taking images. It can show hairline fractures, where the bone is cracked but the pieces are still in place.
Most hip fractures happen to people who are 65 or older, and they are usually caused by falls. As you get older, your bones naturally lose some strength and are more likely to break, even from a minor fall. Children and young adults are more likely to break a hip because of a bike or car accident or a sports injury.
Other things that increase your risk of breaking your hip include:
- Being female.
- Your family historyâ€”being thin or tall or having family members who had fractures later in life.
- Not getting enough calcium and vitamin D, which you need for strong bones.
- Not being active. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, helps keep bones strong.
- Medical conditions that cause dizziness or problems with balance, or conditions such as arthritis that can interfere with steady and safe movement.
- Taking certain medicines, such as long-term steroid medicines used to treat asthma or COPD.
You will probably need surgery to fix your hip. Surgery usually works well, but your hip will probably take a long time to get better. The type of surgery you have will depend on where the break is and how bad it is.