Hip Fracture: Recovery and Prevention

A hip fracture occurs when the bone breaks in the upper portion of the thigh where it attaches to the pelvis. Normally, this bone is strong and requires much force to break. However, as we age, the bone density decreases, increasing the risk of fracturing. The result? After the age of 60, the likelihood of a simple trip and fall resulting in a hip fracture rises tremendously.

Injury Requirements

The whole process can be scary, painful, and overwhelming but the right plan will make recovery much more manageable. More often than not, this type of injury requires surgery followed by a one to two week stay in a rehabilitation hospital. Our therapy teams provide education on how to protect and strengthen the hip, manage pain, and ways to develop functional mobility. This includes getting in and out of bed, moving from a bed to a wheelchair, and walking.


After the hospital stay, the next phase will most likely be at home. Resources like home health and outpatient therapy are great for continued recovery and education. In this phase, it is important to maintain practices like strength building and stretching. Working on balance is also key to walking again. All this is to ensure the patient returns to the same level of function that they had before the fall.

Fall & Injury Prevention

Ultimately prevention is the best treatment. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, staying active can decrease the risk of falling by 20 to 30 percent. Activities can include balance training, strength training, regular stretching, and load-bearing exercises, meaning to put pressure through the bones and joints.

Likewise, a balanced diet can help decrease the likelihood of bone density decrease. Foods and supplements that promote healthy bone density include calcium, vitamin D, protein, and potassium-rich fruits and vegetables.

Most falls occur in the home so it is important to take into account any obstacles. Adjustments include removing throw rugs, improving lighting, adding grab bars to the tub or shower, and wearing well-fitting shoes.

The final key is education. Fall prevention classes provide great insight into how to avoid injury. Those in the category of high risk should also get a screening that shows their balance is. Whether prevention is the goal or an injury has already occurred, these steps can lead to a healthier and safer life.