Besides pain, what happens if I never have the broken hip fixed?

6 answers | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
Chuckmckenna asked...

I am 57 and broke my hip several years ago. I have never had it fixed. I am in the roofing business and it is very difficult to walk, especially if I was on the roof for a long time in a work day. Besides pain, what happens if I never have it fixed? If feels like a dry ball joint socket now and clicks in some positions. Any damage if I don't fix it?

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Hip fractures in young people usually occur after an injury, like a car accident or falling off a roof. Because of the issues with not being able to bear weight or walk after most hip fractures, treatment almost always is surgical repair. However, in some cases, such as a stress fracture of the femur, there could have been the option to not do surgery. When you broke your hip, I am sure that you saw an orthopedic doctor who told you your options and what would happen if you chose not to have surgery. For some reason you decided not to fix it, although you don't say why in your letter.

Since I don't know exactly where or how you broke your hip (femur), it is difficult for me to say exactly what kind of damage you could do if it is never repaired. But I want you to think of this: right now, you are only 57, and you are having pain and crepitus (clicks) on a daily basis. This would indicate to me that you already have arthritis/damage from not getting the hip fixed. As you age, I think that your symptoms would only get worse. Do you really want to be 70 and forced to have surgery because you cannot walk anymore or have horrible pain? Don't you think it would be easier to have surgery now, as a young man, rather than in your 70's or 80's? You really have to ask yourself why are you not getting it done now. I do understand that surgery can be scary, but I also think that there are real possibilities that you may be in pain and not able to walk someday.

I would recommend that you schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon and go over your options. They would be able to tell you better than I exactly what they expect for your hip problem as you age. I wish you luck!

Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

..It seems that the person asking for help gave themselves gave themselves the answer.. Once pain starts it will not get better by itself. Common sense indicates to get medical help ...

Jacobite answered...

I was led to believe when I lived in France, that a broken hip should be repaired in the next 48 hours to avoid permanent nerve and/or circulation problems. Of course France has a National Health Service, so in my case the repair was done in 24.1/4 hours.

Gerij9 answered...

chuck - at the age of 37 while pregnant i started losing movement in my legs and suffering the most excruciating pain while attempting to walk. to make a very long and very painful story short, they took the baby a month early and three days later did bilateral hip replacements on me.

it wasn't fun. but i walk and can do most everything (not everything) that i ever could. i certainly can climb ladders and fix a roof (if i knew how). my point is that you will still be able to work.

if it's a money issue, go to your county facility. you HAVE to get this fixed. it won't get better. and how long do you think you'll continue to get work as people realize you've a bum leg? and, heaven forbid, if you're injured on the job you'll be out of luck and have to incur all the medical expenses, etc., yourself, regardless of why, because you climbed that ladder injured.

for yourself, do it soon. as much as i'm sorry i had to go through it, i'm thankful the opportunity to "fix me" was there. prior to the first hip replacement surgery in 1970, i've read, they cut the nerves and the person was in a wheelchair for life. i have had a second chance. go get one for yourself.

best to you - geri

Sgtroy answered...

Well Chuck, I am not a doctor but did brake my hip and spent 45 days after surgery in a VA hospital. It is hard for me to imagine anyone to walk with a broken hip. I think geri said how extremely painful it is. I too believe you need to go to a doctor for Xrays to cofirm and get your hip fixed. I don't believe your story.

Onepony answered...

Here's what my doc told me: if you are really lucky this might heal fine, BUT there's a good chance that you will reinjure it during a convalescence without stabilizing pins, and then it will be MUCH harder to surgically repair...ouch, that sounds like you! Wishing you speedy healing, just call me 3Pins.