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Broken hip (hip fracture)

A broken hip or hip fracture can happen after a fall or accident when the top part of the femur (thigh bone) is fractured.

This injury is more common in older people, especially where bones have been weakened by osteoporosis. These falls are more common in the winter on icy pavements.

A broken hip can be life-threatening for some elderly people. This is a medical emergency and an ambulance should be called using 999.

Symptoms of a hip fracture include:

  • Severe pain around the hip or groin
  • Not being able to stand and put weight on a leg, or turn the leg
  • One leg looking shorter than the other, or turning outwards more.

A broken hip will be diagnosed based on what happened to the person, their symptoms, a physical examination, and an X-ray or other scan.

Initially, pain relief will be given. Further treatment for a broken hip will depend on the location and severity of the damage, and the person's overall health.

A total or partial hip replacement may be needed. In some cases it may be possible to pin the bone in place with metal plates and screws while it heals.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on December 05, 2015

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