Hip Fracture

Definition

A hip fracture is a break in the thigh bone just below the hip joint. The hip joint consists of a ball at the top of the thigh bone and a rounded socket in the pelvis. Most hip fractures occur 1-2 inches below the ball portion of the hip.
Hip Fracture
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Causes

A hip fracture is caused by a trauma to the bone. Fractures in young people with healthy bones are cause by major trauma. Fractures in older adults or people with conditions that lead to weakened bones may be caused by minor trauma.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of fracture in people with healthy bones include:
  • Motor vehicle accidents and other types of major trauma
  • Sporting activity that places excess stress on the hip—can lead to stress fractures (rare)
Women are more likely than men to fracture their hips, especially after menopause. It is more common in older adults. Other factors that increase the risk of hip fractures include:
  • Previous hip fracture or history of falling
  • Family history of fractures later in life
  • Small-boned, slender body—low body weight
Factors that can weaken bone and increase the risk of fractures include:
  • Osteoporosis —a bone-thinning condition that weakens all bones
  • Poor nutrition
  • Deficient intake or absorption of calcium and vitamin D
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking
  • Kidney disease
  • Cortisone or other steroids
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Low testosterone in men
  • Bone conditions such as osteomalacia—rare
  • Bone tumors—rare
Factors that increase the risk of falls that can lead to fractures include:
  • Weakness
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Irregular heart beat or low blood pressure
  • Chronic disease or fragile health
  • Diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Parkinson disease
  • History of stroke
  • Problems with vision
  • Heart failure
  • Mental impairments including Alzheimer disease
  • Certain medications which cause lightheadedness, drowsiness, or weakness

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