Glossary of Medical Terms
A hip fracture is a break in the upper part of the thighbone (femur) where the thighbone joins the pelvis to form the hip joint. Most hip fractures occur in the area just below the ball of the femur (femoral neck region) and the area just below this (intertrochanteric region).
A hip fracture almost always completely breaks the bone. A partial break in the bone (hairline fracture) may occur but is not as common and may not show up on an X-ray.
In older adults, hip fractures are caused most often by a fall. Even a slight fall can sometimes cause a fracture in a weakened hipbone. Women, especially those in their late 70s and 80s, are at an increased risk for hip fractures due to osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bones to become thin and brittle.
In children and young adults, hip fractures are caused most often by a sudden, severe injury, such as a vehicle accident, sports injury, or a high-impact fall.
The most effective and common treatment for a hip fracture is surgery.