Did you know that 95% of the hip fractures are caused by falls, usually falling sideways? As your hips are one of the widest parts of your skeleton, they are prone to take most of the impact of the fall resulting in different types of hip injuries.
Here are the different ways falls can injure your hips:
Hip Strains & Sprains: Your hip is surrounded by several ligaments and tendons that stabilize the joint and help you move. A hip strain occurs when the muscles and tendons are stretched beyond their normal range of motion causing microscopic tears in the tissue. A hip sprain occurs when ligaments that connect the different bones of the hip joint are damaged due to a fall.
Hip Dislocation: This type of injury may be caused by falling directly on one side of the hip resulting in the top of your thigh bone slipping out of alignment with the hip socket. A hip dislocation can cause severe pain and inability to walk. There may also be nerve damage and loss of feeling in the foot and ankle.
Hip Bursitis: This is swelling and inflammation of the fluid-filled sacs surrounding the hip joint which occurs due to trauma caused by the fall. You may feel pain in the hip and outside thigh area. Walking or any type of joint movement may worsen symptoms.
Hip Labral Tear: The hip labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the hip joint. It deepens the hip socket, so the top of the thigh bone is held securely in place. Tearing of the hip labrum destabilizes the hip joint. You may experience hip pain, instability, locking, or clicking sensations along with decreased range of motion.
Hip Fractures: Each year about 300,000 elderly people above the age of 65 years sustain a hip fracture due to falling. This is a difficult injury to fully recover from and many older people lose their ability to live independently after it.
The likelihood of sustaining a serious hip injury increases as you grow older. Talk to your doctor or an orthopedic physician to evaluate your risk for falls and to discuss what can be done to prevent them.
Dr. Ajay C. Lall is a dual fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and hip arthroscopy. He is an avid clinical researcher with numerous presentations and publications at international academic meetings and within top peer-reviewed journals. The doctors at the American Hip Institute have been global leaders in Hip Arthroscopy and Robotic Surgery for over a decade. While some would call this excellence, we simply call it the American Hip Institute standard.