A Guide To Fractured Hip Recovery Times
A fractured hip can be debilitating and usually requires surgery to treat it. Recovering from a hip fracture can be very taxing, but it is also very important that you take all the appropriate measures to ensure your hip fracture can heal correctly. Here at The Health Experts, we want to help you get the most out of your recovery time, to give you some basic information that may
help you as you regain the full use of your hip following an injury. To do this, we have created a guide outlining the common fractured hip recovery times, the different types of hip fractures and broken hip treatment, tips for self-care at home, and more.
The hip is known as a ball and socket joint, which is comprised of the top of the femur sitting into a curved section of the pelvis. A break can occur in either the pelvis or the top of the femur, resulting in a fractured hip. There can be many causes of a hip fracture and among these can be heavy impacts from a fall or car accident. Recovery time for an injury like this can vary depending on the type of fracture you have, your age, and other factors.
Taking correct measures during your recovery could not only speed it up but could also result in a more efficient recovery overall. Some of these measures can include physiotherapy and orthopaedic treatment. To find out if you qualify for free orthopaedic treatment and physiotherapy aftercare that could speed up your healing process, contact our advisors today on 020 3870 4868, or use our online contact form, to have us call you back at a time that you suits you.
Select A Section
- Overview – What Is A Hip Fracture?
- What Types Of Hip Fracture Treatment Are There?
- How Long Is The Recovery Time For A Broken Hip?
- How To Manage The Pain
- Can An Elderly Person Recover From A Hip Fracture?
- When Can I Go Home After Fractured Hip Treatment?
- Follow Up Care For A Broken Hip
- Self-Care Practices To Do At Home
- Hip Fracture Statistics
- Will Physiotherapy Help My Recovery?
- You Could Qualify For Free Treatment For A Hip Fracture
- Additional Information
The hip joint is one of the largest weight bearing joints in our body. The risks of a broken hip can be quite high, so it could be very useful to understand how the hip works, and what can cause a broken or fractured hip. Knowing what to look for could make it easier for you to identify if you have a broken hip, and help you get treatment sooner rather than later, which is best when dealing with a fractured hip.
A hip fracture happens where a heavy impact causes either the top of the femur bone or pelvis to break or shatter. Fractured hip symptoms can include:
- Pain in the hip, leg or lower back
- Bruising or swelling around the hip
- Not being able to weight on your injured leg
- You leg may turn outwards awkwardly
- Finding it difficult to move or control your leg
- Or the injured leg may sometimes look shorter than the other
This guide contains more broken hip symptoms, and gives more advice on the steps to follow if you believe you may have broken your hip.
Symptoms for each person can vary, and it is important that if you notice any signs of a hip fracture like the symptoms listed above that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially important in hip injuries due to the high number of blood vessels, tendons and nerves that run through the hip joint, which is why a hip fracture can be so dangerous. Your doctor will usually check to determine if you have a fractured hip with an X-Ray, or scan. In some cases, you can also physically see that the injured leg looks shorter than the other.
Fractured hips can happen for many reasons, such as falls from a height, for example you could get a broken hip from falling off a roof while doing repairs, car accidents, etc. but they are more common in those over the age of 65. In the elderly, hip fractures commonly happen because of falls from standing height. Long distance runners and ballerinas can also develop hairline hip fractures over years of high impacts on their femurs. Those with osteoporosis are also prone to hip fractures if they have a fall, as their bones are less dense than those without the condition.
There are different kinds of fractured hip types that are classified based on which bones are damaged, and where on each bone it happens. To understand them it is necessary to know that the top of the femur bone is ball shaped, and slots into the curved section of the pelvis also known as the acetabulum. In most cases of a fractured hip joint, surgery is necessary to access the joint and correctly reset the bones.
For patients that are not suitable candidates for surgery, e.g. those with pre-existing conditions that could put them in danger while under anaesthetic, the treatment would be medication, apply external supports to help reset it and to be kept under observation to see how the injury heals by itself. Physically there is no difference between a left or right hip fracture, and treatment would be the same for both.
Treatments to certain fractures can vary, depending on if the blood supply to the bone has been affected, or there is any other kind of nerve or tendon damage. The most well-known hip fracture types are:
In this type of fracture, the upper ball section of the femur has become completely separated from the rest of the femur bone. The ball can sometimes be reattached, but this has a lower success rate and often needs replacing. That is why an intracapsular fracture is usually treated with a partial or full hip replacement.
Subtrochanteric or femoral shaft fractures
In this type of fracture, the break happens 1 to 2 inches down the femur bone. This fracture can be treated by realigning the bones, and securing them in place with pins or plates, or in some cases a combination of both.
Intertrochanteric hip fracture
This is where a break in the femur bone happens further away from the pelvis, down to about 3 or 4 inches away. Similar to femoral shaft fractures, intertrochanteric hip fractures can be treated by surgically realigning the bones and pinning them in place using plates, pins or surgical screws.
This is a fracture to the hip socket, it is rare and is usually the result of very heavy trauma to the hip, such as car accident. This fracture involves a break in the acetabulum, the curved section of the pelvis where the ball section of the femur sits. The treatment for this kind of injury depends on the extent of damage to the acetabulum. Sometimes it can be repaired using the pin and plate fixation, otherwise a total hip replacement may be recommended.
Due to the different types of possible fracture, recovery times can vary. More extensive damage may take longer to heal than clean fractures. The recovery time after a hip pinning surgery also takes less time that a non-surgical treatment. Hip fracture recovery times without surgery take longer because the fractures are not secured and don’t heal as well without intervention.
In any type of fracture, your doctor or team of physicians will create a rehabilitation programme for you to follow, both while you’re in hospital, and after you have gone home. This programme can sometimes include physiotherapy. Most people don’t realise that they might be eligible for free physiotherapy aftercare, which can greatly improve your recovery times. Contact us today to find out if you qualify for free health care.
Age is also a factor in recovery times for this type of injury. Broken hip recovery time for the elderly is known to take longer than those of a younger age. This is due to the fact that those of an older age may have pre-existing conditions that make recovery more difficult and could even prevent a hip fracture being treated with surgery. For example, broken hip recovery time for elderly people with dementia may be prolonged or prevented as they find it harder to perform rehabilitation exercises than those with average cognitive abilities.
Although there are many factors that can influence your individual recovery, we have included a basic broken hip recovery timeline to help give you an idea of how long it may take on average to recover from having surgery on a broken hip.
- Depending on your circumstances, such as level of mobility, pre-existing conditions, etc. the length of time you spend in hospital following surgery can vary.
- Stitches or staples may be removed within 10 to 21 days depending on healing
- For the first 3 to 4 months your broken hip may have swelling
- Depending the success of your rehabilitation, it may be from 4 weeks to 4 months until you will be able to return to work.
- It can take between 6 months to 1 year before you feel fully recovered.
It is difficult to estimate the timeline for broken hip recovery without surgery, but this NHS article gives some more helpful information on recovering from a hip fracture.
Pain is a normal symptom to have while you are recovering from a hip injury. Managing the pain is something your doctor will discuss with you, especially during your time in hospital. It is common for your doctor to prescribe medication to control pain such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or opioids. It is important to note that overuse of opioids can sometimes result in an addiction. Your doctor will take measures to try and prevent this by using a combination of different pain relievers, such as NSAIDs, paracetamol and lower doses of opioids.
You could also help the pain your self by applying a cold compress to the area and elevating your hips to ease swelling. It is also important to rest when you need it, but also try to avoid laying in bed for too long, to help prevent painful stiffness in the joint.
Broken hip survival rates in those over 65 of years of age are lower than those that are younger. This is due to many factors that can affect an elderly person’s ability to recover. As mentioned, rehabilitation is very important in helping a person regain their mobility and independence. Sometimes an elderly person cannot appropriately engage in their rehabilitation programme, for example, if they’re mobility was already low before their injury. This could lower their chances of recovering from the injury at all and could also make any other under-lying conditions worse.
There are many services available to assist an elderly person recover from a broken hip. The NHS and Age UK both have useful pages on receiving help at home and offer more advice on how to go about arranging help for those who require some more assistance while they recover from a hip fracture.
The length of time a person may spend in the hospital following a fractured hip depends on the type of injury, and what treatment they may have had. It can also be affected by the individual person’s recovery time. Those that have not had surgery may have to stay in hospital for longer, to remain under observation while the injury heals.
If you are well enough, you could possibly leave the hospital 1 week after your surgery, otherwise, how soon you return home depends on your own personal progress following the operation.
Follow up care after a broken hip will be instrumental in ensuring you make the best recovery. Follow up appointments will include checking on the wound and removing any staples of stitches. They would also include more X-Rays or scans to monitor the progress of your healing. At this point your doctor would also help you adjust your rehabilitation plan, based on how far your recovery has come.
Other appointments you may have following your surgery could include physiotherapy sessions. Depending on your individual situation, these sessions could be very important. Physiotherapy is an active way of helping your hip to recover, and many people in the UK don’t realise that they might qualify for free physiotherapy and other medical treatments. Contact our team today to find out in under a minute.
Staying mobile throughout your recovery is important, but always check with your doctor to see if you are ready to start doing your own exercises at home before you attempt any of the following. Putting too much pressure on your recovering hip could cause further injury or slow your recovery. There are many different types of exercises you could do at home, depending on how much progress you have made in your recovery.
For each of these you should be lying flat on your back:
- Bend and straighten your injured leg.
- Keeping your knees straight, push your leg out to the side and return to starting position.
- Bend both knees up, with your feet flat, and gently lift your bottom up, squeezing your bottom cheeks together, then lower back down.
You can perform each of these while sitting on a chair:
- Straighten your knee out in front of you, hold for 5 seconds, then lower to the ground.
- With both feet flat on the ground, raise both heels up off the ground, then gently lower them to the ground again.
- Slide the foot of your inured leg forwards and backwards along the floor.
- Lift your injured knee slowly towards your chest, then lower gently back to the floor.
These should be completed while holding on to something to support you:
- With your support in front of you, raise your knee up towards your chest, then gently lower back down to the ground
- With your support beside you, lift your injured leg out to the side, then return it to the ground.
- With your support in front of you, bend both knees and lower yourself down as far as is comfortable, then gently raise yourself back up to the standing potion.
- With your support in front of you, push the foot of your injured leg out behind you, keeping both knees straight, then return to the floor.
It is also advised that you try your best to perform day to day tasks where possible, such as walking around the house, climbing the stairs, driving, etc. It is important that you seek the advice of your doctor, and only do exercises that are within your safe range of movement, depending on what your hip can handle.
Below is a summary of basic statistics relating to hip fractures in the UK. See this National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) page for more information:
Hip fractures per year: 70 -75,000.
Projected number of hip fractures projected for 2020: 101,000.
Average age for those admitted to hospital with a hip fracture: 75 – 77 years old.
Patients requiring institutional aftercare following a hip fracture: 10 – 20%.
Mortality rates for those following a hip fracture:
- 10% in the first month.
- 33% in 12 months following the injury
Less than half of the deaths included in the above statistics are caused directly by a fractured hip. It is more common for a hip injury to highlight or aggravate underlying health conditions, which can further complicate the recovery process.
Physiotherapy will begin the day after your surgery. This is because it is so important to get your hip moving as soon as possible. A physiotherapist will work with you the entire time you are in the hospital, guiding you through exercises you can do that will help to rebuild and restore the strength in your hip.
After you leave hospital, you will continue with a rehabilitation programme that includes physiotherapy. As you get stronger, the physiotherapist will increase the intensity of your exercises, to keep encouraging your hip to get stronger and more stable. Physiotherapy could also help to improve pain and swelling, as the joint loosens up, and the blood flow to the area is improved.
As with any injury or surgery, physiotherapy could be highly beneficial to your recovery, and over all well-being. Contact our health team today to see if you qualify for free physiotherapy aftercare, that could make all the difference to your recovery.
Many people are unaware that they might be eligible for free health care from a local provider. Our team could tell you in 30 seconds if you might qualify, for healthcare that could greatly improve how you recover from your fractured hip.
This free healthcare could include professional assessment of broken bone reports, physiotherapy aftercare, medical equipment to assist your mobility, and other orthopaedic treatments. Contact us today, and our advisors could help you find out if you qualify on 020 3870 4868 or use our online contact form to get us to call you whenever you like.
This article aims to provide you with information on recovering from a fractured hip. If you haven’t found what you are looking for, or would like some more information, we have included some links below that you might find useful.
Recovering From A Broken Hip – See this leaflet from the NHS about recovering from a broken hip.
Have Different Type Of Injury? – See the Health Expert website for more information on other types of injuries.
National Hip Fracture Database – for more statistics relating to hip fractures.
Article by Jenny H