Hip Fractures

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Hip fractures commonly affect individuals over the age of 65. According to statistics, 300,000 elderly Americans are hospitalized for hip fractures every year. Not only are hip fractures painful, they can significantly affect daily lifestyle and activities. At OrthoAspen, our elite-grade specialists are dedicated to helping our active patients return to motion—as quickly and safely as possible.

Causes & Symptoms

A hip fracture refers to a break that occurs near the hip in the upper part of the femur or thigh bone. The thigh bone has two bony processes on the upper part—the greater and lesser trochanters. The lesser trochanter projects from the base of the femoral neck on the back of the thigh bone. A fracture can occur in either of these areas.

While minor trauma in elderly patients with weak bones is one of the most common causes of hip fractures, young people are also susceptible to hip fractures as a result of high-energy trauma or serious injuries. Long-term use of certain medicines, such as bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis (a disease causing weak bones) and other bone diseases, increase the risk of hip fractures.

Signs and symptoms of hip fracture include:

  • Pain in the groin or outer upper thigh
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • Discomfort while rotating the hip
  • Shortening of the injured leg
  • Outward or inward turning of the foot and knee of the injured leg

Our goal at OrthoAspen is to thoroughly examine the severity of hip fracture to determine the best and most efficient treatment option. Your OrthoAspen doctor may order X-rays and additional imaging tests, such as an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to pinpoint the extent of the hip fracture.

Depending on the area of the upper femur involved, hip fractures are classified in three ways:

  1. Intracapsular Fracture
    A fracture that occurs at the neck and the head of the femur.
  2. Intertrochanteric Fracture
    A fracture focused between the neck of the femur and a lower bony prominence.
  3. Subtrochanteric Fracture
    A fracture that occurs below the lesser trochanter, between the lesser trochanter and an area slightly below.

Hip fractures can be corrected and aligned with non-surgical and operative methods.

Skeletal traction is one of the most common conservative treatment methods for hip fractures. The procedure may be applied under local anesthesia. Your OrthoAspen surgeon will insert screws, pins and wires into the femur, and a pulley system is set up at the end of the bed to bear heavy weights. These heavy weights help in correcting the misaligned bones until the injury heals.

Hip fractures can be surgically treated with:

  • External fixation
  • Intramedullary fixation
  • Plates and screws

To find out more how hip fractures are diagnosed, treated and prevented, simply click here or call us at 970-544-1289.


Visit OrthoAspen in two convenient locations
Aspen Clinic
Aspen Valley Hospital
0401 Castle Creek Rd., Suite 2100,

Aspen, CO 81611
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400
Basalt Clinic
Midvalley Medical Center
1450 E. Valley Rd., Suite 201,

Basalt, CO 81621
+(970) 544-1289
+(970) 544-1400