Hip Fractures

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The hip joint is a ball and socket joint made up of the top of your femur (the ball) and the bottom of the pelvis (the socket).  A hip fracture occurs when any part of the structure breaks and the bones separate.  Hip fractures can be caused by a fall, a direct blow to the side of the hip (such as in a vehicle accident, for example), and medical conditions such as osteoporosis, repetitive stress or cancer.  

Hip fractures are most common in people 65 and up because as we get older, our bones naturally lose some strength and are more likely to break.

A hip fracture can really interfere with the quality of your life, and it can take a long time to recover.

That's why if you have fractured your hip - or suspect that you have - you should know that the University of Michigan Department of Orthopaedic Surgery has successfully diagnosed and treated hundreds of patients with hip fractures. As part of the U-M Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center, we work in concert with everyone who is involved in bone and joint health, such as our award-winning Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation unit. Together, we put our patients on the path to a pain-free, more mobile life. 

As one of the oldest and most well-regarded orthopaedic units in the United States, we can offer you several surgical options and, should you need it, physical rehabilitation services that are second to none. 

Note: Hip fractures should be assessed by an orthopaedic specialist immediately. 

Symptoms of a Hip Fracture

Symptoms can include:

  • Pain in your hip or groin and can even pain in the thigh
  • Trouble walking on the affected side
  • Pain when you rotate your hip in or out
  • Your leg may appear to be rotated instead of straight.

Diagnosis of a Hip Fracture

Your University of Michigan physician will:

  • Conduct a thorough medical examination and will talk with you about your pattern of symptoms. 
  • Review any material sent to us by your referring physician, if there is one. 
  • Take X-rays.
  • Order a CT scan, an MRI or a bone scan if the fracture can't be seen well on an X-ray.

Treatment for a Hip Fracture

Non-surgical Treatment for a Hip Fracture (Not Recommended)

  • Early ambulation (walking) if deemed appropriate by the doctor, with the assistance of a walker or crutches.
  • Physical therapy for safety training and strengthening.
  • Office follow up to monitor healing with X-rays.
  • Collaboration with your primary care physician to evaluate bone density via bone scan or metabolic blood tests.
  • Lifelong treatment of the osteopenia or osteoporosis to prevent further fractures.

Surgical Treatment for a Hip Fracture

You will probably need surgery to fix your hip. If the broken pieces of the bone are separated, surgery may be necessary to restore the hip joint, making it possible to walk. There are many different types of surgical fixation for hip fractures. Your X-ray results and the type of fracture will dictate what type of surgery is necessary. 

Your doctor may put metal screws, a metal plate or a rod in your hip to fix the break. Or you may need to have partial or total hip replacement. 

Contact Us / Make an Appointment

  • Orthopaedics, 734-936-5780 

Selecting a health care provider is a very important decision. Because we are highly experienced in successfully treating hip fractures and breaks, we would like to help you explore your options. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of Musculoskeletal Call Centers. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about how we can help.