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Hip fracture in the elderly: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

When there is a break in the upper end of the femur that joins the pelvis, it is considered that there is a hip fracture. This condition is more common than you think and in 90% of cases it is suffered by the elderly.

The elderly are more prone to these injuries due to the wear and tear of the bones and the loss of bone mass that occurs with age, in addition to the fact that walking becomes difficult and there may be vision problems that lead to accidents.

Because the hip is a fulcrum for walking and supporting the body, its fracture generates movement problems, requiring its attention as soon as possible, especially in the elderly in which it could result in other complications. For this reason, if you are interested in learning more about hip fracture in the elderly: causes and treatment , in this FastlyHealarticle we will inform you about it.

Main causes of hip fracture in the elderly

As the age of life of a person advances, the capacity for bone mass production in the body decreases, especially after menopause in women, while in men the greatest wear usually occurs around 70 years of age, for this reason the fractures are more frequent in women . The production of this tissue is essential, since it is what provides resistance to bone structures.

Although this decrease is a natural process, it can also be accompanied by a very common disease in older adults, osteoporosis . This pathology is characterized by the fragility of the bones due to the accelerated loss of bone mass. These factors are decisive for the breaking of the bones to occur in the face of any force applied to it.

However, factors such as a family or own history of hip fracture, a sedentary lifestyle throughout life, excessive consumption of alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes, tall stature, thinness or accelerated loss of body weight can lead to bone loss or loss of bone mass. that are fragile.

Most cases of hip fracture in the elderly are due to falls of a domestic nature or blows to the area, even a slight blow can cause breakage if the bones are very weak. Also an excessive physical effort can cause this injury, for example when carrying something very heavy, since it is an area that is responsible for supporting a large part of the body weight and any load that is applied.

Symptoms of a hip fracture in the elderly

In rare cases, a hip fracture generates symptoms that may go unnoticed, such as mild pain in the affected area, reaching from the knee to the lower back, but it is possible to visualize the affected leg shortened and in external rotation, that is, the foot. it is directed outwards.

In general, it is easy to perceive that there is a hip fracture but the intensity of the symptoms may vary depending on the degree of damage, so the person who suffers from it may present:

  • Strong pain in the hip.
  • Swelling in the involved leg.
  • Limited or impossible movement of the affected leg.
  • Difficulty walking or standing.

Treatment for hip fracture in the elderly

Due to the fragility of the bone structure of most older adults, when faced with intense pain in the hip area, a fracture of the hip should be assumed, especially in the event of falls, blows or overexertion. Faced with this situation, a specialist should be consulted, either by going to the medical center taking care of transfer so as not to aggravate the damage or requesting a medical visit to the home.

To heal a hip fracture in the elderly, it is necessary to intervene surgically to accelerate the recovery of mobility and return to daily activities as soon as possible. There are several techniques that can be used to treat a ruptured upper end of the femur, but the doctor will determine the best fit for the case, taking into consideration the type, degree and location of the fracture and the patient’s condition, such as age and if you have a disease that decreases bone mass.

These techniques are classified as osteosynthesis and arthroplasties . The first consists of the union and internal fixation of the fragments of the injured bone by placing metallic elements, mostly nails, screws and plates. Whereas, arthroplasty refers to the total or partial removal of damaged bone structures and they are replaced by a prosthesis, either made of titanium, cobalt, chromium or high-density polyethylene.

Some tips to prevent fractures in the elderly

Since many of the cases of fractures in the elderly are associated with osteoporosis, it is important to include foods rich in calcium in the usual diet , including sardines, milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy derivatives, which helps you to prevent or decrease the effect of this disease that weakens bone mass. Likewise, going to the doctor for regular check-ups will help you detect calcium deficiencies early and, if the specialist deems it necessary, will give you supplements to increase its level.

At home it is important to keep the most used path clear , without chairs, rugs or any piece of furniture that could interfere with the walking of the elderly person, and if there are children, determine play areas to avoid accidents with toys. It is also recommended that sturdy benches or chairs are placed in the shower, since falls on the wet floor are frequent.

On the other hand, within the possibilities of each person, practicing some exercises or other daily physical activity is highly recommended to strengthen bones and joints, improving resistance to certain injuries. A good option is to walk daily for about 30 minutes, preferably in places where the ground is not uneven.

Drinking alcohol and smoking or being exposed to its smoke should be avoided as much as possible , as they can reduce the absorption of calcium from food, the production of the cells that form bone tissue and the entry of oxygen into the bones.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Hip fracture in the elderly: causes and treatment , we recommend that you enter our Bones, Joints and Muscles category .

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