The sad truth about the elderly and broken hips is that the reality is grim. If a person over the age of 50 breaks a hip, there is a one in five chance they will not live through the next year. However, the good news is four out of five will.
The type of falls that children or adults can bounce back from can have far more serious consequences for the elderly. It’s common as people get older and more physically unsteady to suffer from a slip and fall accident. Unfortunately, the older someone is, particularly once they’ve reached their seventies, the likelier a fall is.
One of the reasons for this is osteoporosis, a common condition that affects more than 30% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50. It causes bones to become more brittle, and therefore easier to break. Elderly people are more likely to break bones, and it is also harder for them to heal broken bones. This can be grave when it comes to back, neck, or hip fractures.
Breaking a Hip Is Serious
The seriousness of a broken hip in the elderly has to do with the limited mobility that comes from an injury in a part of your body that is needed for mobility. After all, you need your hips for sitting up, walking, twisting, and turning, which are basically all the ways in which we move at all.
In almost all cases, surgical intervention is going to be necessary to fix the break and promoting healing. While this might not be such a big deal for someone in their teens or even well into their forties, hip surgery is an invasive operation that can cause major problems for older people.
There a few main reasons why so much can go wrong as a result of breaking a hip:
- Staying immobile in bed can cause a lot of problems, such as bedsores.
- Lying on your back for extended periods of time can cause pneumonia, which is the leading killer associated with broken hips in the elderly.
- A broken hip and the surgery that follows may cause other complications, such as hospital infections.
- The complications of hip surgery may cause previous problems to flare back up, overwhelming the body.
Why Hip Surgery is Necessary
Because the hips are such big bones, when either one of them breaks, it’s usually not a small or hairline fracture. Therefore, a surgeon will need to cut into the area and physically put the two pieces of bone back together. Sometimes, surgeons will use metal screws or a titanium plate to hold the bone together.
The pins or plates in your body will be painful and can cause complications. In the event that the hip is very badly broken, you may need to undergo a total hip replacement. This is a very intrusive and serious operation.
Recovery After Breaking a Hip
No one wants to be a statistic, including you or your elderly loved one. There are a lot of things people can do to recover from hip surgery and it starts with a positive attitude and an eye towards the future.
Looking inward and imagining all the things that you can do once you’ve made a full recovery is a great first start towards moving forward and having a healthy mind, body, and spirit.
Physical therapy and bone growth promoting supplements are, when used in tandem, the two quickest means to a speedy recovery. It is absolutely critical that hip surgery patients perform every aspect of physical therapy that has been assigned to them. The faster and more comprehensively you do what you need to do, the faster you’ll be back on your feet.
Diet is also important during the recovery period, particularly the inclusion of nutrients for bone health. These include calcium, vitamin K, and protein.
If you or a loved one broke their hip suffering a fall on someone else’s property or due to another person’s actions or negligence, you also may be entitled to damages. Contacting an experienced attorney can help you get compensation for your medical bills and other expenses that are related to your injury.