Recognition and Management of Hip Injuries


By Frank Hubbell, DO

Illustrations By T.B.R. Walsh

In the previous issue of the WMNL, we discussed recognition and management of knee injuries. In this edition of the newsletter, we will take a similar look at the other end of the femur, the hip.


Facts about hip injuries in the USA:

There are about 350,000 hip fractures per year.

90% of the hip fractures are due to simple falls.

There are about 350,000 total hip replacements per year due to arthritis.

30% of orthopedic hospital admissions are due to hip problems.

50% of hospital admissions days are for hip problems.

Hip fractures are 3 times more likely in women than men.

Women have a 1 in 7 chance of a hip fracture in their lifetime.

The average cost of a total hip replacement is $26,000.

The total cost of hip injuries is approximately $28 billion per year.


Anatomy of the Hip:


The anatomy of the hip consists of the hip joint itself and a complex arrangement of muscles around the hip that provide movement to the upper leg. A very simple ball and socket arrangement, the hip joint is referred to as a spheroidal joint.

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Improvised Traction Splint

March/April 2008  ISSN-1059-6518  Volume 21 Number 2

A fractured femur is a very painful injury due to spasms of the large muscles of the upper leg. It is also a potentially life-threatening injury because of the potential blood loss into the area surrounding the fracture—typical blood loss is 1000 – 1500cc—as well as a risk of pulmonary emboli caused by fat emboli that can be released from the bone marrow. Proper splinting with a traction splint minimizes these risks and dramatically reduces the pain by controlling the spasms of the leg muscles. All fractured femurs should be treated with a traction splint, and one can be easily improvised. Read more