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Preventing Hip Fractures

Hip fractures refer to any kind of breakage or damage in the thigh bone (femur). People over the age of 65, especially women, are highly vulnerable to hip fractures. You will require assistance after hip fractures from family members as well as health professionals and may also be required to be admitted to the hospital for further assistance. Hip fractures can be caused due to weak bones (osteoporosis) or from a fall. Osteoporosis is due to various factors such as age, gender, nutrition, life style or heredity.

Prevention of hip fractures

Healthy lifestyle choices in early adulthood help in building high bone mass and reduce risk of bone related diseases in later years. Some of the methods of prevention of hip fractures are:

Home safety: Most hip fractures occur due to falls. Falls can be prevented by taking care of small things such as removing clutter from the floor, clearing out excess or unwanted furniture, keeping electric cords away from the floor, using enough lighting in the house, using grab bars in the bathrooms and removing throw rugs.

Exercise: Exercise helps to maintain muscle strength and can slow bone loss. It also improves your balance and coordination. Exercises such as walking increase bone density in your body. Some other exercises include climbing stairs, jogging, dancing, swimming, and weight training. Balance training can be used to decrease falls and the risk of hip fractures as balance tends to reduce with age.

Reduce smoking and drinking: You can maintain your bone density by avoiding excessive use of alcohol and by reducing smoking. Too much alcohol can impair your balance and increase the risk of falls.

Check your eyes: Get your eyes tested every year if you have any eye disorders or diabetes.

Watch your medications: Certain medications can have side effects, such as weakness or dizziness and can make you more prone to falls. Please consult with your doctor regarding the medications you take.

Hip protectors: These are designed in order to decrease the impact of a fall and prevent hip fractures in older people. The device has padding and plastic shields to help absorb the shock of the fall and divert the impact away from vulnerable areas of the hip.

As you grow older, your bones may become weak due to hormonal loss, genetic factors, lack of exercise or malnutrition. However, you can maintain your bone health with good nutrition and appropriate activity levels. You can also take osteoporosis medications if required.

Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis

Slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) is an unusual disorder of the hip where the ball at the upper end of the thigh bone (femur) slips in a backward direction. This is caused due to weakness of the growth plate. This condition is commonly caused during accelerated growth periods such as the onset of puberty.

Causes

The cause of SCFE is unknown. However in most cases it may be due to being overweight or from minor falls or trauma. Slippage of the epiphysis (ball at the upper and of the thigh bone) is a gradual and slow process, however it may occur suddenly in cases of trauma or falls.

Symptoms

The typical symptoms of SCFE include several weeks or months of hip or knee pain and limping. The affected leg may be turned outwards in comparison to the normal leg and may appear shorter.

Diagnosis

SCFE is usually diagnosed with a physical examination, as it shows any abnormality in motion of the hip, gait and walking pattern. An X-ray of the hip will confirm the diagnosis as it shows any anatomical differences in the alignment of the hip bone.

Treatment

Early diagnosis of SCFE gives a chance to achieve the treatment goal of stabilizing the hip. The treatment is mostly in the form of surgery which prevents any additional slipping of the femoral head until growth stops. Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor will recommend one of these 3 surgical procedures:

  • Placing a single screw in the thigh bone and the epiphysis
  • Reducing the displacement of the femoral head and placing screws to hold it in place.
  • Removing the abnormal growth plate and avoiding any further displacement with the help of screws.

 




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