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Quick Facts

Broken Hip

(Hip Fracture)


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Feb 2021| Content last modified Feb 2021
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What is a broken hip?

Your hip is the upper part of your thighbone (femur). The end of your thighbone has a ball on the end of it. That ball fits into a socket on the bottom of your pelvis bone. The ball and socket make up your hip joint.

The Femur: Part of the Hip Joint

The Femur: Part of the Hip Joint

A broken hip is a break in your upper thighbone. It may involve the ball on the end of the bone or be just below the ball. All broken bones are considered fractures. For more information, see Overview of Broken Bones.

  • Hip fractures usually happen in older people, often from a fall

  • Osteoporosis (weakening of the bones) raises the chance of having a hip fracture

  • Doctors do surgery to fix a broken hip

  • It can take a long time to recover from a broken hip and you'll need to go to a rehabilitation program (rehab)

What causes the hip to break?

Hip fractures are usually caused by a fall. They usually happen in older people, particularly if their bones have been weakened by diseases such as osteoporosis or cancer.

What are the symptoms of a broken hip?

Symptoms include:

  • Severe pain in the groin area

  • The injured leg looks shorter when you lie down

  • Light-headedness or weakness

  • Bruising and swelling

  • Sometimes, with a mild hip fracture, you have only a little pain and can walk

How can doctors tell if my hip is broken?

Doctors do:

How do doctors treat hip fractures?

Doctors will:

  • Do surgery to repair or replace your hip

  • Have you do rehabilitation (exercises) to get stronger

Unlike with many other broken bones, if you have a hip fracture, you'll need surgery.

If you have a mild hip fracture, doctors will repair your hip using metal pieces that hold the broken bones together so they can heal.

If you have a severe hip fracture, doctors will do a hip replacement. In a hip replacement they'll remove the end of your thigh bone and replace it with an artificial one. Sometimes, they also replace the socket part of the hip joint.

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