As women age, their bones become more brittle and susceptible to fractures, particularly in the hip. In fact, hip fractures are the leading cause of injury-related death in elderly women. However, there are several things women can do to reduce their risk of hip fracture, including exercise.
A recent study published in the journal Osteoporosis International suggests that even a modest amount of weight-bearing exercise can help prevent hip fractures in elderly women. The study followed nearly 1,400 women aged 70 and older for an average of four years. During that time, 191 hip fractures occurred.
Why hip fractures in elderly women are dangerous
Hip fractures are dangerous because they can often lead to other health problems. For example, about one-third of elderly women who fracture their hips die within a year of the injury. In addition, many elderly women who fracture their hips become disabled and require long-term care.
Hip Fractures Prevention
Exercise is one of the most important things women can do to prevent hip fractures. Regular exercise helps keep bones strong and healthy, which reduces the risk of fractures. Weight-bearing exercises are especially important, as they help increase bone density and strength. Some good weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, dancing, and stair climbing.
In addition to exercise, there are several other things women can do to reduce their risk of hip fracture, including:
- Taking calcium and vitamin D supplements to keep bones healthy and strong
- Limiting alcohol intake, as alcohol can weaken bones
- Avoiding smoking, as smoking can decrease bone density
- Keeping a healthy weight, as being overweight increases the risk of fractures
- Practising safe balance and mobility exercises to reduce the risk of falls.
- Use assistive devices when needed (e.g., walkers, canes, raised toilet seats, etc.), in order to reduce the risk of falls.
- Seeking medical attention when necessary for conditions that can lead to bone fractures (e.g., osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.).
Following these simple tips can help reduce the risk of hip fracture in elderly women, and help them stay healthy and active well into old age.
HIP FRACTURE SURGERY AND TREATMENT
Hip surgery is a common procedure performed on elderly adults. If an elderly woman is experiencing pain in their hip, has difficulty walking, or experiences a fall, they should see a doctor right away. Hip surgery may be necessary to improve their mobility and quality of life.
There are several reasons why an elderly woman may need hip surgery, including:
• Osteoarthritis – This is the most common reason for hip surgery in elderly women. Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes the joints to become inflamed and stiff.
• Hip fracture – A hip fracture is a break in the femur (thigh bone) that can occur as a result of a fall.
• Osteoporosis – This is a condition that causes bones to become thin and fragile. Osteoporosis often affects the hips, spine, and wrists.
If an elderly has a hip fracture, they will most likely require surgery, a hospital stay, and rehabilitation to assist with the healing process. The type of surgery your loved one will receive is determined by their overall health, the type of fracture, and the severity of the fracture.
The most common type of hip surgery for elderly women is a hip replacement. In a hip replacement, the damaged parts of the hip joint are replaced with artificial implants. Other types of surgery include:
1. Hip resurfacing – In hip resurfacing, the damaged bone is removed and replaced with an implant.
2. Hip replacement revision – This is a surgery to replace a previous hip replacement implant that has failed or been removed.
3. Hemiarthroplasty – In hemiarthroplasty, only the ball of the joint is replaced, not the entire joint.
If your loved one needs hip surgery, you can help them through the process by:
1. Helping them get ready for surgery by packing their hospital bag and arranging for transportation to and from the hospital.
2. Visiting them in the hospital and staying with them during their stay.
3. Helping them with their recovery at home by providing meals, assistance with bathing and dressing, and helping them get around.
4. Encouraging them to keep up with their physical therapy exercises to improve their mobility and strength.
5. Providing moral support throughout their recovery process.
Is it possible to get treatment for a hip fracture without surgery?
In certain circumstances, doctors may recommend hip fracture treatment instead of surgery. If the bone is fractured but remains in place, your loved one may not require surgery. Surgery might not be necessary if the patient is too sick to undergo it, was unable to walk before the break occurred, or is terminally ill.
Treatment for these kinds of injuries includes pain management, physical therapy, and various methods to avoid straining and putting weight on the damaged hip.
What to expect with a fractured hip recovery and rehabilitation
The recovery process after hip surgery can be lengthy; it will take some time to resume daily activities. Following surgery, your loved one will most likely be in the hospital for a few days. While your loved one is still in the hospital, physical and occupational treatment for a broken hip recovery may begin. If you or a loved one is experiencing pain in their hip, has difficulty walking, or experiences a fall, please contact The Orthopaedic & Pain Practice for more information about your options. They would be happy to discuss the best course of action for you and provide you with the resources you need to make an informed decision.