How to Treat a Broken Hip or Pelvis

Medically Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on December 04, 2022

If you have osteoporosis, your risk of broken bones is greatly increased. More than 1.5 million of them happen in the U.S. each year because of the disease. Even a minor fall can lead to a broken hip or pelvis. But if you get the right treatment quickly, you can get back on your feet and return to your regular activities.

This is a serious injury, so it’s important to take quick action if it happens. You usually won't be able to walk and will find yourself in the hospital. The most common treatment is surgery. Most surgeries to fix a broken hip take place 1 to 3 days after the break. Fast treatment is important for a full recovery.

Your doctor may recommend replacing your hip with an artificial one made of plastic and metal. Or they may repair the break with metal screws, pins, rods, or plates that hold the bone together while it heals.

It could take you several months to recover from a broken hip. You may need to be in the hospital or in a rehab facility until you can walk well again.

After surgery, you'll need physical therapy. A therapist can show you exercises that will make your hip stronger. If you have trouble moving as well as you did before the break, these workouts can help you get back to normal.

If you break your pelvis, it can be painful and hard to move, but a broken pelvis isn't nearly as dangerous or as common as a hip fracture. The pelvis is the ring of bones that sits below your belly button and above your legs. You usually won’t need surgery to fix a break unless it's a severe one. But you won't be able to walk.

You may need to use crutches or a walker while your bones heal. Your doctor will probably prescribe pain medicine and physical therapy. It could take weeks or months to heal and for you to be pain-free, depending on the type and location of the break.

With osteoporosis, you should eat a nutritious diet with plenty of protein, calcium, and vitamin D to strengthen your bones. If your doctor prescribes medicine or supplements for your osteoporosis, keep taking them until you are told otherwise. There are medications that decrease your risk for future broken bones, but they need to be taken on an ongoing basis. 

Show Sources


Department of Health and Human Services: "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Hip Fractures."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Pelvic Fractures."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Hip Conditioning Program."

Harvard Medical School: “After Hip Fracture, Exercise at Home Boosts Day-to-Day Function.”

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info