A hip fracture refers to a break in the neck area of the femur. Signs of a hip fracture include abnormal positioning of the hip and leg. There are many types of fractures, and the recommended treatment will depend on the severity and type. An x-ray may not indicate a fracture but should hip pain occur; an MRI can help confirm the cause of this. These image studies are conducted to check for a hairline fracture, especially in the event of persistent hip pain. Hip stress fractures typically happen due to overuse that occurs from an extreme sport such as long-distance running. Endurance running can place an enormous amount of strain on the hip joint contributing to pain and instability of the hip.
In some cases, a fracture may be repaired through reduction or realignment surgery. Unfortunately, this is not always possible or successful in older patients. The blood supply to the femoral head can be diminished, leading to post-operative complications if treated with conventional nails or plates. If the femur is damaged to this extent, I may recommend hip replacement surgery. This may involve the replacement of the head of the femur (ball) or a total hip replacement, in which case both the ball and socket are replaced with artificial materials.
Sometimes, a hip fracture is managed with the use of screws or nails, which are fixed to the inner surface of the bone. The nails allow for greater stability and help to speed up the recovery process and allow early mobilisation, which is the goal of surgery.
Follow-up is key and crucial in regaining full mobility of the hip joint. By calling me to schedule a follow-up appointment, we can discuss recovery, the results after surgery and keep track of the medications taken. Physiotherapy after surgery is particularly important because specific exercises help regain full mobility and range of motion, strengthening the hip muscles in the process.
Cephalomedullary nails are used to treat femur neck fractures. These nails are used in internal fixation for breaks in the trochanteric region. Cephalomedullary nails are made to restore the fractured bone to its previous healthy state.
A broken hip can be fixed using rods, screws and plates. These instruments can be used to fix the prosthetic in place. Usually, surgery to repair a fractured hip involves additional healing through rehabilitation and pain medication.
Older patients may take longer to recover from hip replacement surgery. It takes between four weeks to six months to heal from a hip replacement. Recovery depends on the patient's age, chronic conditions and medical history.