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Hip Fracture, Ambulatory Care
A hip fracture
is a break in the upper part of your femur (thigh bone). The upper part of your femur includes the femoral head and the femoral neck. A hip fracture is often caused by a fall or injury on the side of your hip.
Common symptoms include the following:
- Pain in your upper thigh, groin, or buttock
- Pain when you flex or rotate your hip
- Difficulty or inability to place weight on your leg and walk
- One leg looks shorter than the other
Call 911 for any of the following:
- Warm, tender, swollen, red, and painful arm or leg
- Lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and chest pain
- Coughing up blood
Seek care immediately for the following symptoms:
- Severe pain, even after you take pain medicine
- Numbness in your legs
- Inability to move your leg or foot
Treatment for a hip fracture
may include any of the following:
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
- Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask how to take this medicine safely.
- Blood thinners help prevent blood clots. Examples of blood thinners include heparin and warfarin. Clots can cause strokes, heart attacks, and death. The following are general safety guidelines to follow while you are taking a blood thinner:
- Watch for bleeding and bruising while you take blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from your gums or nose. Watch for blood in your urine and bowel movements. Use a soft washcloth on your skin, and a soft toothbrush to brush your teeth. This can keep your skin and gums from bleeding. If you shave, use an electric shaver. Do not play contact sports.
- Tell your dentist and other healthcare providers that you take anticoagulants. Wear a bracelet or necklace that says you take this medicine.
- Do not start or stop any medicines unless your healthcare provider tells you to. Many medicines cannot be used with blood thinners.
- Tell your healthcare provider right away if you forget to take the medicine, or if you take too much.
- Warfarin is a blood thinner that you may need to take. The following are things you should be aware of if you take warfarin.
- Foods and medicines can affect the amount of warfarin in your blood. Do not make major changes to your diet while you take warfarin. Warfarin works best when you eat about the same amount of vitamin K every day. Vitamin K is found in green leafy vegetables and certain other foods. Ask for more information about what to eat when you are taking warfarin.
- You will need to see your healthcare provider for follow-up visits when you are on warfarin. You will need regular blood tests. These tests are used to decide how much medicine you need.
- Surgery is usually needed. The type of surgery you need depends on the type of fracture you have. The broken parts of your femur may be put back together with metal hardware. All or part of your hip joint may need to be replaced.
- Get regular exercise. Include exercises that strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Ask about the best exercise plan for you.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take. Some medicines can cause dizziness or drowsiness and increase your risk for falls.
- Have your vision checked regularly. Your vision may worsen over time and increase your risk for falls.
- Use walking devices , such as canes or walkers, if you have trouble keeping your balance.
- Make your home safe:
- Improve the lighting in your home so that you can see where you are walking better.
- Add grab bars to the inside and outside of your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
- Add railings to both sides of your stairways.
- Remove throw rugs and other objects that can cause you to trip and fall.
Manage your hip fracture:
- Eat foods that are high in calcium and vitamin D. Your healthcare provider may tell you to eat more dairy products, such as milk and cheese, for calcium. Spinach, salmon, and dried beans are also good sources of calcium. Cereal, bread, and orange juice may be fortified with vitamin D. You also get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Your healthcare provider may also suggest a calcium or vitamin D supplement. Do not take supplements unless directed.
- Rest as directed. You may need a brace or pillow between your legs while your fracture heals.
- Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist will teach you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain during recovery.
Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:
You will need to return for more x-rays. Your healthcare provider may also want to check you for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become brittle and break easily after a fall. You will need treatment if you develop osteoporosis. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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