Broken hip injuries can occur at any age but increase in frequency directly with age, being much more common in people over age 65. In the U.S., there are over 300,000 hip fractures each year. For the elderly, falls are the most common cause of broken hips, but the underlying cause is typically a decrease in bone density associated with aging. A person with a bone density of only one-standard-deviation above others of the same age, will have a likelihood of hip fracture more than 20 times those with stronger bones. Not only that, but the death rate for elderly people is very high within a year of the fracture, ranging from 10% to 40%. Only a minority of older patients ever achieve normal mobility after a broken hip. Even younger patients are fortunate if they have a normal walking gait after a hip fracture heals. For younger people, car accidents and motorcycle accidents tend to lead the list of causes of broken hips.
Most hip fractures occur in the short area of bone that rather sharply angles inward at the top of the long thigh bone (femur). A normally-smooth ball swings in a socket of the pelvis, forming the hip joint. Younger patients heal better and more quickly than older patients. If the bone fragments have not moved, then sometimes very conservative treatment, such as using crutches and wheelchairs, is sufficient. If the bones have moved, then surgery is likely needed to fix the bones in the proper position. Pins (screws) and metal plates are often used to hold things where they should be when the femur is the only fractured bone. When the pelvis is also fractured, the outcome of broken hip repair is less predictable, since the joint-surface healing is more difficult to predict, and more likely to cause restrictions in joint movement. Family members of older patients are often shocked when death results shortly after surgery or several months after a broken hip, but the correlation is, as noted, very high. The precise mechanisms responsible for this correlation have been poorly identified, in most cases. It appears that these patients are much more likely to contract pneumonia and other infections, related to a decrease in mobility. So, as you can see, a broken hip is indeed a very serious injury, irrespective of age.
Contact a Lawyer About Your Hip Fracture Injury
If you have suffered a hip fracture injury as a result of a car accident, or negligence of others, Parker Scheer recommends that you consult with a personal injury lawyer and evaluate your case. For your free confidential case review click here and receive a response from one of our attorneys within hours. If you prefer, you can also telephone our offices in Boston seven days a week at toll-free.
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