A hip fracture is a break in the
thighbone (femur) of your hip joint.
Joints are areas where 2 or more
bones meet. Your hip joint is a "ball and socket" joint, where your thighbone meets your
pelvic bone. The ball part of your hip joint is the head of the thighbone. The socket is
a cup-like structure in your pelvic bone. This is called the acetabulum. Hip fracture is
a serious injury and needs immediate medical attention.
Most hip fractures happen to people
older than age 60. The incidence of hip fractures increases with age, doubling for each
decade after age 50. Caucasians and Asians are more likely to be affected than others.
This is primarily because of a higher rate of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis (loss of bone
tissue) is a disease that weakens bones.
Women are more prone to
osteoporosis than men; therefore, hip fracture is more common among women. More than
1.5 million Americans have fractures each year because of osteoporosis.
Either a single break or multiple breaks can happen in a bone. A hip fracture is classified by the specific area of the break and the type of break(s) in your bone.
The most common types of hip fractures are:
Femoral neck fracture. A femoral neck
fracture happens 1 to 2 inches from your hip joint. This type of fracture is common
among older adults and can be related to osteoporosis. This type of fracture may
cause a complication, because the break usually cuts off the blood supply to the head
of the thighbone, which forms the hip joint.
Intertrochanteric hip fracture. An intertrochanteric hip fracture happens 3 to 4 inches from your hip joint. This type of fracture does not usually interrupt the blood supply to your bone and may be easier to repair.
Most hip fractures fall into these
2 categories in relatively equal numbers. Another type of fracture, called a stress
fracture of the hip, may be harder to diagnose. This is a hairline crack in the
thighbone that may not involve your whole bone. Overuse and repetitive motion can cause
a stress fracture. The symptoms of this injury may mimic those of tendonitis or muscle