What to Expect during Hip Fracture Recovery

By Ruby Cemental

A hip fracture is one of the most common injuries caused by falls for seniors. Hip fractures, in most cases, require surgery, after which there is a lengthy recovery period. Hip fracture recovery for seniors is a process that is often arduous as well as dangerous, and there are several things that are good to know as a patient as well as a caregiver. 

Hip Surgery Basics

The nature of the surgery as a result of a fractured hip makes the time of convalescence and return to full health considerable. Depending on how bad the fracture is, you may need a hip repair or a hip replacement. 

Hip Repair

A hip repair procedure generally involves both lining the bones up correctly and stabilizing them with the use of metal rods, pins, or screws. This maneuvering and fusing of bones, coupled with the incision, will result in considerable, yet normal, pain. You will most likely be required to remain in the hospital for 2 to 4 days to recover. 

Hip Replacement

A hip replacement can involve replacing your entire hip joint or just part of your hip joint with artificial parts, usually metal, plastic, or ceramic. Hip replacement is more extensive, but both surgeries will require recovery time.

Post Surgery

After surgery, you will be given medicine to control your pain levels. Your doctor may choose to insert a urinary catheter so that you don't have to get up to go to the bathroom. They may also recommend medication or a compression pump to prevent blood clotting while you recover. 

Your doctor will have you start moving your feet up and down to keep your muscles moving and to start your path toward mobility. Most people will get up and walk the day after surgery. However, your doctor will discuss your mobility with you and create a plan to help you remain safe as you recover. 

During this recovery time, you will be given a walker, crutches, or a cane, depending on your stage of mobility. You will need these assistive devices to help you move around as your hip heals. 

Tips for a Successful Recovery

To make a full recovery, your doctor will certainly encourage physical therapy almost immediately after, and it usually is suggested to last 6 months or more. Altogether, you should expect a full recovery to take at least a year.

The good news is that the surgery normally works well. In fact, according to Dr. Steven B. Haas MD, Chief of Knee Service at The Hospital for Special Surgery, the success rate of hip surgeries after 10 years is 90 to 95%. 

The key to a successful is to get out of bed and start moving as soon as possible, and follow any instructions given for effective home recovery closely. The biggest issues that negatively affect the results of recovery can be linked to inactivity. Start and continue to keep moving, and the prognosis is excellent. 

Here are some easy tips to make sure you can have a successful recovery: 

  • Install bright lighting

  • Secure carpeting and rugs to avoid falling

  • Follow doctor's orders

  • Attend physical therapy sessions and do the prescribed exercises

  • Keep necessities on low shelves

  • Install handrails and bars in the bathroom and around the house

Caregiver helping a senior man stand up

Tags: Fall Prevention, Senior Health