Can you walk with a hip fracture? (explanation)

elderly person walking

It's no secret that a hip fracture can be incredibly painful. In fact, many people wonder if they will even be able to walk with a broken hip.

The good news is that most people are able to walk after a hip fracture, but it can take some time and patience.

In this article, we are going to discuss the best way to walk with a hip fracture and how to make the healing process as easy as possible.

hip anatomy

The hip is a joint that connects the thigh bone to the pelvis. It is a ball and socket joint, which means that the head of the femur fits into a cup-shaped cavity in the pelvis. The hip joint is held together by a network of strong ligaments and muscles.

La hip joint cavity is called the acetabulum. It is covered with a smooth layer of cartilage that helps reduce friction during movement. The head of the femur, or femur, is also covered in cartilage. This layer of cartilage allows the bones to glide smoothly against each other.

The ligaments that surround the hip joint provide stability and prevent dislocation. The largest and strongest ligament is called the ilio-femoral ligament. It extends from the pelvis to the top of the femur. There are also two smaller ligaments, called pubofemoral and ischiofemora ligamentsl, which help to stabilize the joint at different angles.

The muscles around the hip joint also play an important role in stability and movement.

What is a hip fracture?

A hip fracture is a rupture that occurs in the upper part of the femur, or thigh bone. The femur is a large bone that fits snugly into the hip joint.

A hip fracture can cause the femur to lose its alignment and disrupt the function of the hip joint. Hip fractures are more common among older adults, especially those who have osteoporosis, a disease that makes bones weak and brittle.

However, young adults and children can also experience hip fractures, usually from a high-energy injury, such as a fall from a great height or a car accident.

Causes of a hip fracture

A hip fracture can occur as a result of a fall, car accident, or other high-impact trauma. However, most hip fractures are caused by osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones and makes them more likely to break.

Osteoporosis is often diagnosed in older people, but it can affect people of any age.

Other risk factors for hip fracture include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and certain conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. In some cases, hip fractures can be caused by cancer that has spread to the bones (bone metastases).

Symptoms of a hip fracture

The most common symptom of a hip fracture is sudden, severe pain in the hip or groin. Other symptoms may be present:

  • Inability to move the leg or bear weight on the affected side;
  • Swelling and bruising in the area of ​​the injury;
  • Sensitivity to the touch of the skin around the injury
  • Sensitivity to pressure exerted on the bone.

If you think you or someone else has a broken hip, it's important to see a doctor right away. A hip fracture is a serious injury that requires prompt treatment.

Can you walk with a hip fracture?

One of the main concerns with a hip fracture is that it can make walking very difficult, if not impossible. In some cases, pelvic weight bearing is contraindicated when the fracture has not healed.

This means that people with a hip fracture must use crutches or a wheelchair until the bone heals. However, once the fracture has healed, people can usually walk again without problems.

However, it is essential to follow the doctor's recommendations. (surgeon or attending physician) to ensure a safe and successful recovery. With proper treatment and rehabilitation, most people with hip fractures can regain their mobility and independence.

Possible complications following a hip fracture

Although hip fractures can usually be treated, a number of complications can occur. These include in particular:

Vascular lesion

Vascular injury can occur when the blood vessels that supply the femur are injured. This can lead to loss of blood flow to the bone and an increased risk of infection.

Nerve damage 

Nerve damage can occur when the nerves that run along the femur are damaged. This can cause numbness, tingling, or weakness in the leg. In some cases, nerve damage can also lead to paralysis.

Surgical complications 

Surgical complications can include infection, hemorrhage, and blood clots.

It is important to see a doctor immediately if you think you have a broken hip. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications and ensure a good recovery.

Return to walking following a hip fracture

Walking is an important part of life and regaining this ability after a hip fracture is essential. However, it is important to follow the doctor's recommendations and only start walking when it is safe to do so.

Muscle strengthening, stability, flexibility, proprioception… All of these factors are important in regaining the ability to walk after a hip fracture. It is essential to have the green light from the doctor before starting any type of rehabilitation program. Ideally, rehabilitation should be gradual and carried out under the guidance of a medical professional such as a physiotherapist.

It is also important to listen to your body and your level of pain. It is normal to feel some pain when walking again after a hip fracture. However, if the pain is severe, you should stop and rest.

Walking is a good way to regain your mobility after a hip fracture. With proper treatment and rehabilitation, most people can successfully recover from a hip fracture.

However, it is important to follow your doctor's recommendations and only start walking when it is safe to do so. If you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with your healthcare team.

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