Hip fractures are cracks or breaks in the top of the thigh bone (femur) close to the hip joint, sometimes referred to as proximal femoral fractures. It can either occur in the part of the femur inside the socket of the hip joint (intracapsular), or outside the socket (extracapsular).

Symptoms include:

  • not being able to lift, move or rotate (turn) your leg
  • being unable to stand or put weight on your leg, although in some cases this is possible
  • a shorter leg, or your leg turning outwards more on the injured side

Surgery is usually the only treatment option for hip fractures. NICE recommends that someone with a hip fracture should have surgery on the day they’re admitted to hospital or the day after being admitted. In about half of all cases, a partial or complete hip replacement is needed. The rest require surgery to fix the fracture with plates and screws or rods.

The type of surgery you have will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • type of fracture (where on the femur it is)
  • your age
  • your level of mobility before the fracture
  • the condition of the bone and joint – for example, whether you have arthritis