Hip Fracture



A hip fracture is caused by trauma to the bone, such as from a fall or a car accident.

Risk Factors

A hip fracture is more common in older adults. Things that may raise the risk are:

  • Health problems, such as:
    • Osteoporosis
    • A prior fracture
    • Heart, hormone, and kidney disorders
  • Certain medicines, such as antidepressants and proton pump inhibitors
  • Lack of activity
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition



A hip fracture may cause:

  • Groin and thigh pain
  • A leg that looks shorter or turns outward
  • Problems putting weight on the hip


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the hip and leg. This may be enough to suspect a hip fracture.

Pictures will be taken of the hip. This can be done with:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan



It can take 3 months or longer to heal. It depends on how severe the fracture is and the person's overall health. The goal of treatment is to help the bones heal properly to prevent long term problems.

Putting Bones Back in Place

Some fractures may cause pieces of bone to come apart. The pieces of bone will need to be put back into place so it will heal properly. The doctor may do this through surgery to:

  • Reconnect bone sections with plates and screws. These devices will also hold the bone in place as it heals.
  • Remove damaged bone and replace it with an artificial joint

Surgery may not be possible for people who have other health issues. The bone will need to heal on its own. This method will take longer and have greater movement limits. The leg may need to be in traction. A gentle pressure will help to keep the bone in the right place so it can heal as it should.


Support for all fractures can include:

  • Medicine to ease pain and swelling
  • A walker, crutches, or a cane to allow movement with less stress on injured bones
  • Exercises to help with strength, flexibility, and range of motion


Most fractures are due to accidents. Healthy bones and muscles may help prevent severe injury. A balanced diet and regular exercise can keep bones strong.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.