Hip fractures

Physical Therapy Post-Hip Fracture

As people age, the probability of experiencing a fractured hip is unfortunately pretty high. Many elderly folks suffer from bad falls or develop osteoporosis, an ailment that weakens the bones. 

A hip fracture, otherwise known as a broken hip, is a very painful condition usually resulting from trauma to the joint. If you’ve ever experienced chronic pain in your hip, lower back, or groin, bruising or inflammation, or even suddenly noticed one leg is shorter than the other, then you’ve probably felt that kind of pain before.

Factors that can play a role in your risk of developing a hip fracture include home hazards such as floors that have a dip in them, electrical wires left on the ground, rugs that easily move, unstable rails or banisters, stairways, low-lit areas, and clutter or spills. 

But here at Evolution Physical Therapy, where we address orthopedic conditions of all kinds, we can help by properly evaluating your signs and symptoms for an accurate diagnosis, educating you on your particular issue, and successfully treating you for your lower body condition through simple exercises.

What is a Hip Fracture?

You might already have a good grasp on what a hip fracture entails, but in medical terms, it’s when the superior region of the thigh bone or femur suffers either a partial or total break right at its cross-section with the pelvic bone. 

Though hip fractures are usually caused by motor accidents, falls, or trauma to the site, what’s called a hairline crack can also develop from stress and repetitive strain to the hip. Most of the time, hip fractures in older populations are caused by falls and this predominantly happens to people past the age of 60 years old.

When Do You Start Physical Therapy After a Hip Fracture?

If you’re wondering when and how to treat a broken hip with physical therapy, given that hip fractures are a serious diagnosis, it’s best to seek medical attention right away. Usually, patients will go through a surgical procedure to address the fracture and then physical rehabilitation is recommended as soon as possible to prevent muscle atrophy or consequences from lack of movement. 

Unlike the medical treatments for most broken bones, hip fractures can improve faster the more you move, making physical therapy a vital part of the healing process. After all, exercise has been shown to increase blood flow which in turn causes a rich oxygen and nutrient supply to travel to the fractured areas of the bone. This ultimately fast tracks a person’s path to recovery. Even after the fracture is fully healed, a continuation of physical therapy is suggested for further muscle strengthening and flexibility so that range of motion in the hip region can continue to improve.

How Do Physical Therapists Treat Hip Fractures?

When coping with the consequences of a hip fracture, it’s important to see a physical therapist because treatments can make a significant difference in your pain management and quality of life. Therapy can minimize your pain by reducing inflammation, improve your quality of movement by focusing on exercises that increase your range of motion, and help your sense of stability through the practice of consistent movements that improve your ability to sit, stand, walk, and regularly move.

While your specific injury or illness is unique, there are a number of common physical therapy treatments for hip fractures. Depending on your situation, your therapist may incorporate:

Though it can vary case by case, patients typically need physical therapy for at least 4-6 weeks post-recovery from a hip fracture.

When to see a Physical Therapist for Hip Fracture

At Evolution Physical Therapy, we have locations in California, Colorado, Connecticut, and Long Island, with specialist PT providers that offer a range of physical therapy services and help to provide you with the treatment, education, and additional support you need on your road to recovery. Reach out to us today, by calling us to set up an appointment at a location near you, or filling out our Request an Appointment form.