Hip Fractures 101: What to Know About Hip Fractures in Seniors
As elderly adults age, they are often at risk for a number of different potential injuries that can make caring for these individuals a challenge. One of the most common injuries to impact seniors today is hip fractures, in fact, these are the most common injuries to result in hospitalization among seniors.
So, what is the cause of hip fractures?
There are a number of risk factors that make elderly adults more prone to suffering from hip fractures. This, of course, includes the sheer number of falls that tend to happen among senior citizens, which is the number one cause of hip injuries. However, as a senior care provider, you should also be aware of some of the other risk factors that may make seniors at risk for hip fractures. This includes:
- Gender: Women are more likely to suffer from a hip fracture than men. This is because women tend to lose bone density more quickly than men.
- Medications: Seniors who are taking four or more medications at once are often more likely to fall and suffer from a hip fracture.
- Nutrition: Diet plays an important role in bone development. Seniors who had poor nutrition in childhood are actually more likely to have a hip fracture later on in life.
- Osteoporosis: This common condition impacts more than 10 million seniors in the United States and since it causes bones to become weak and brittle, it greatly increases the chances of a senior having a hip fracture.
Many times, there is nothing you can do to prevent a hip fracture from happening. You can, however, make sure your loved one is being extra cautious when moving about and that you are always on the lookout for potential hazards that may cause your loved one to fall and hurt themselves. Many times, being cautious is the only way to prevent a hip fracture from happening in the first place.
If your loved one does fall or complain of pain in the hip or groin area, it is important that they go to the hospital right away. They can get an x-ray right away to determine whether or not a fracture is at the root of their pain.
There are three main types of hip fractures:
- A subtrochanteric Fracture- This fracture occurs in the femur and is actually the rarest type of hip fracture in seniors.
- Femoral Neck Fracture- This fracture occurs right below the ball of the socket hip joint and can actually stop the flow of blood to the broken bone. Typically, when this type of break occurs, seniors need a partial hip replacement in the ball and socket area.
- Intertrochanteric Region Fracture- This type of fracture occurs in the bone where the thigh bone extends away from the hip. When this type of fracture happens, seniors often need a plate and screw to compress the bones together and help them heal.
Many times, doctors will recommend immediate surgery within the first 24 hours to ensure the best possible recovery for your loved one.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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