What is the treatment for broken hips in the elderly?

Rose asked...

What will the doctor do for broken hips in elderly people?

Expert Answer

Laura Cheney, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

Unfortunately, breaking a hip is quite common in the elderly. It is usually related to underlying osteoporosis (thinning of the bone) and can happen spontaneously or because of a fall. When we talk of breaking "a hip" we usually mean a break in the top part of the thigh bone (the femur). Someone who breaks a hip will have to have surgery quite soon after the fracture occurs. Generally, the doctor will either put a plate and pins in the bone to stabilize the fracture or he/she will choose to do a hip replacement which will replace the broken part of the bone with prosthesis. This decision is based on many factors. In either case, the person will require physical and occupational therapy afterwards to rehabilitate from the procedure.