One of the most common injuries in seniors is a hip fracture after suffering a fall. It tends to happen due to muscle weakness, balance problems, impaired vision, chronic illness, side effects from medications, or a wet bathtub or floor.
While hip injuries happen frequently and aging patients are more prone to these type of injuries, it’s important to note that younger patients aren’t immune to them.
The Most Common Hip Injuries From Falling
1. Bursitis. Bursitis occurs when a person experiences inflamed bursa, which are lubricated fluid-filled sacs that serve as cushions between the joints. Typical symptoms include tenderness of the hip, feeling warm to the touch, feeling pain with movement or after prolonged periods of inactivity. In the case of infectious bursitis, the patient may also develop a fever.
2. Labral tear. The labrum is the ring of cartilage that cushions the socket in your hip joint. When this part of the body is injured, you’ll likely feel pain that radiates to your groin, a clicking sensation, and limited range of motion. One of its worst complications is osteoarthritis, which in turn, can cause bone spurs.
3. Dislocation. The hip is composed of a ball-and-socket joint, where the head of the femur (the thigh bone) goes into the socket in the pelvis. Dislocation occurs when trauma (such as a fall) causes the femoral head (the “ball” portion) to come out of the socket. When this happens, the person experiences acute pain. Depending on the severity of the damage, the doctor may be able to manipulate the patient’s bone back into place without the need for surgery. However, certain instances do require surgical intervention. And just as with labral tears, one of its complications could be osteoarthritis, as well as damage to the sciatic nerve, or avascular necrosis (death of bone tissue due to an interruption in blood flow).
4. Fracture. Most hip fractures require surgery. When a person experiences a hip fracture, they feel acute pain in their hip, groin, and upper thigh area. It happens often to senior adults, and it often results in the inability to continue living on their own. People with osteoporosis have a higher risk of fracturing their hip during a fall.
5. Hip strain. Hip strain injuries occur when the muscles and tendons surrounding the hip experience trauma, such as a hard hit during contact sports, a car crash, or a fall. Because these muscles extend over a person’s abdomen or gluteus, the pain may also radiate to these areas. Some athletes experience this type of injury more often than others and develop what’s known as athletic pubalgia. The most common symptom is pain when using those muscles and a limited range of motion.
Sometimes, the strain can be treated with simple home remedies, such as the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). However, more severe injuries may require physical therapy or even surgery if conservative remedies do not work.
6. Snapping Hip Syndrome. This condition gets its name from the snapping sound made when the patient gets up, walks, runs, or makes any other hip or leg movements. The sound is created by the iliotibial band (popularly known as the IT band), which is tissue that connects hip muscles to the tibia (the bone between the knee and the ankles).
Snapping hip syndrome can sometimes be treated by icing the area, over-the-counter pain relievers, with stretching exercises or cortisone injections.
Risk Factors for Hip Injuries
As previously mentioned, age is one of the biggest risk factors for experiencing the kind of fall that will result in a serious hip injury. That being said, there are also the following:
- Physical inactivity
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Chronic illness
- Gender (Women tend to lose bone density at a faster rate than men)
- Slippery rugs
- Inadequate lighting
- Icy sidewalks (yes, we live in Florida, but we also have plenty of snowbirds)
- Intense physical activity with no rest days
- Participating in contact sports
- Substantial alcohol consumption
Request an Appointment for Hip Treatment at The Orthopedic Clinic Today
At the Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. If you recently fell and are experiencing hip pain or discomfort, let us help you get back to doing the things you love.
Call us at (386) 255-4596 to schedule an appointment.