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Hip Fracture - Topic Overview

How is it treated? continued...

The type of surgery you have will depend on where the break is and how bad it is.

  • Hip repair surgery camera.gif is called internal fixation or "hip pinning." The doctor uses metal screws, rods, or plates to hold the bone together while it heals. This surgery is usually chosen if the bones can be lined up properly.
  • Hip replacement surgery camera.gif involves replacing part or all of the joint with artificial parts. In a partial hip replacement, the doctor replaces the broken upper part of the thighbone. In a total hip replacement, both the hip socket and the top of the thigh bone are replaced. Total hip replacement is often done when the fractured bones can't be properly lined up.

After surgery, your doctor will want you to start moving as soon as you can. This will help prevent problems such as pneumonia, blood clots, and bed sores. These things may happen because you have to stay in bed so long. You may also need to take a blood-thinner (anticoagulant) medicine to reduce the risk of blood clots.

After your surgery, it will be hard to do things like cooking and getting dressed by yourself. So for a while you may need to be in a nursing home or rehabilitation (rehab) center.

Your doctor will encourage you to take part in a rehab program that includes physical therapy and occupational therapy. This will teach you:

  • Exercises to help you regain your strength and ability to move around.
  • New ways to do simple daily activities.
  • Safe ways to stay active.

Taking part in a rehab program is very important because it will speed up your recovery and help you to get back to your normal activities sooner.

After a hip fracture, some people aren't ever able to get around as well as they could before. They may need to use a walker or cane. They may need help with daily activities such as dressing and bathing. And many can no longer live on their own. Work hard to get your strength and mobility back so you can be as independent as possible.

How can you prevent a hip fracture?

There are many things you can do to prevent a hip fracture. One of the most important is to prevent osteoporosis. Bone thinning can happen to men or women. But it is more common in women.

To keep your bones strong:

  • Get plenty of calcium and vitamin D. Dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt have lots of calcium. It's also in some vegetables like broccoli and kale. Vitamin D is in foods such as salmon, tuna, and fortified milk and cereals. If you want to take supplements, ask your doctor how much you need.
  • Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink a day for women and no more than 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Do weight-bearing exercise that puts pressure on bones and muscles. Walking is a good choice.
  • If your doctor prescribes medicine to slow osteoporosis, take it as directed.
  • Don't smoke.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 07, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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