What is the treatment for broken hips in the elderly?

5 answers | Last updated: Nov 20, 2016
Rose asked...

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

Expert Answers

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.

Community Answers

Lutricia answered...

why do elder people dies after abroken hip?

*susan answered...

My mother-in-law, broke her hip (femur) just after her 97th birthday. Thanks to her primary care doctor's carefully thought-out plan, she'll return to her home from a rehab center in a few days (4 months later) with a pin in her healed hip, a cane, a walker (for long outings until her energy returns and her legs get stronger), her independence, no ongoing pain--and no caregiver.

  1. Surgery causes much more trauma in the elderly than in the young so he first thing my mil's doctor insisted on was an experienced orthopedic surgeon. Why? It's important that the surgeon "get in and get out" as quickly as possible, resulting in less anesthesia, less blood loss, less time in the operating room, less trauma and faster recovery. In my mil's case, a pin was put in to to help the fractured femur heal.

  2. The surgeon gave the instructions for rehab. In my mil's case the surgeon insisted, no weight-bearing on the affected hip/leg for 90 days--until x-rays showed the hip healed. After verifying it had healed, the surgeon gave new instructions to the physical therapists at the rehab center. After 6 additional weeks of therapy my mil is returning to her home. I've chronicled her experience and insights on my blog http://helpparentsagewell.com. if you're interested.

Broken twice answered...

My question is. Why do they make you get up and walk just a few hours after surgery?

Emily m. answered...

Hi Broken Twice, interesting question. If you'd like you can post your own question in our Ask & Answer section here: https://www.caring.com/ask.

Thanks for your question, Emily