Phoenix Hip Injury Lawyers
Information about Hip Fractures and Injuries
Sometimes protecting yourself just isn't enough to stop a hip injury and that's where a skilled Phoenix personal injury attorney comes in. The Husband and Wife Law Team has seen multiple hip fracture injuries and knows how overwhelming they really can be. Call (602) 267-1280 to schedule your free consultation.
If you've ever had a broken bone, then you know how much a fracture can hurt, and the trouble with a hip fracture is that as long as you are moving, it will put you into excruciating pain. Victims of hip fractures will feel it while sleeping and rolling over in bed, while moving to go to the restroom, while taking a shower, and in many cases, while doing nothing. These injuries can take an enormous amount of time to heal, leaving the victims in serious pain and suffering for long periods of time.
What is a Hip Fracture?
Hip fractures, which often extend all the way into the pelvis, are an incredibly painful injury that can take months to heal. Hip fractures almost always impact the entire pelvic bone. Hip fractures damage the ring created by the pelvis, which is meant to protect all of your vital internal organs and reproductive organs, like your stomach, intestines, bladder, etc. When you have a fracture in your pelvis or hips, your body may be exposed to serious damage from leaking blood into your internal organs, serious and permanent nerve damage, and internal injuries to your organs.
People who suffer a hip injury often need immediate medical attention in order to ensure that they do not suffer compounding injuries or further pain and permanent damage. People who appear to have suffered a hip fracture or a fracture elsewhere in the pelvis should be rushed to an emergency room.
How Do Hip Injuries Happen?
These types of injuries can happen in any number of ways, but most commonly happen when the victim falls or experiences another serious physical trauma to their hips and pelvis. Some of the most common types of accidents that frequently lead to hip fracture injuries include:
- Abuse, especially cases involving the elderly, and most frequently when they are kicked, hit, pushed, thrown down, or forced to fall.
- Car crashes where the victim's pelvis is crushed.
- Accidents involving pedestrians especially when the pedestrian is hit directly in the pelvis area.
- Slip and fall accidents, which can happen to anyone, anytime, nearly anywhere.
- Accidents involving motorcycles, especially when the motorcycle rider is thrown from the motorcycle.
- Bicycle accidents which may involve the bicyclist being struck in the pelvis area or falling and landing on their pelvic bone.
Additional Risk Factors for Hip Injuries
Although a hip injury can happen to anyone, there are certain people who have a higher risk of being involved in the accidents that result in hip fracture injuries. Aside from the usual active suspects like motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists, who are all at a high risk for hip fractures based on their recreational activities and regular modes of transportation, there are other major factors that relate to risk for hip injuries, including:
- Age. Older people have more brittle bones and other problems, making them highly susceptible to injuries.
- Medical conditions that reduce your ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D. This can include problems like autoimmune disorders, endocrine disorders and intestinal disorders.
- Medications that weaken your bone structure over time like prednisone and other medications that can make you excessively dizzy and prone to falling down.
- Poor nutrition, which leads to a lack of calcium and vitamin D as well as serious fatigue and other problem that make you a prime candidate for slipping, losing your balance, and being unable to recover.
- Physical fitness. People who are chronically inactive have a greater risk of not only sustaining a hip fracture but of not being able to recover very quickly.
- Tobacco use and alcohol use inhibit the body's natural processes such as bone building - necessary for preventing fractures - and remodeling - necessary for healing after an injury - and both of these things could lead to serious problems.
- Your gender. If you're a woman you're much more likely to sustain a hip fracture than a man because a woman's bone density thins out much more quickly than a man's over time.
What Does it Mean to Sustain a Hip Fracture Injury?
Sustaining a hip fracture means that you have injured your pelvis. It also means that you will likely have a long road to healing ahead of you and you will be unable to engage in normal activity for some time. For bicyclists, this means no riding a bicycle for weeks or even months. Serious hip fractures may require hospitalization or the use of a wheelchair over a prolonged period of time. For some individuals who sustain a hip fracture, long term medical treatment to get the body back into balance and through complete recovery may be necessary.
Symptoms of a Hip Fracture
The signs and symptoms of a hip fracture injury are typically not as difficult to recognize as those for other types of injuries. Only in very rare cases is the victim of the injury unaware that they need medical attention. Some of the most common symptoms of a hip fracture injury include:
- Falling and then not being able to get up, even though you have not injured your knees, back, or legs.
- Sustained and severe pain, whether shooting or throbbing, throughout your pelvis and groin area; in some cases, pain may be localized to the hip in question.
- Unable to walk because you cannot put any weight down on the hip that you fell on.
- Serious bruising and swelling through both of your hips or just one, depending on the way that you sustained your injury.
- Stiffness in one of your hips, both of your hips, or throughout your pelvis.
- One of your legs seems shorter than the other; most commonly this will be the leg on the hip that you injured.
- Your leg begins to bow outward on the side where you may have sustained your injury.
Is Surgery Necessary to Heal?
In most cases, a hip fracture injury does require surgery in order to properly heal. While some moderate and mild cases of hip fracture do not require surgery, and only require rehabilitative therapies and medications, the majority of hip fractures are serious enough to warrant surgery. In these cases, the location of your hip fracture injury, your age, your risk factors, and the seriousness of your injury will all play a role in determining which of the three major surgical methods is right for you:
- Hardware repair, where a doctor inserts metal screws into your bones to bring your hip and pelvis back together for proper healing.
- Replacement of bone with a prosthesis, which is very common, is the act of the doctor cutting out part of the head and neck of your bone and replacing it to ensure that you achieve proper alignment or get rid of damaged parts.
- Total hip replacement, which consists of completely replacing the upper femur and socket with prosthetics. This is most common in older individuals or those who had a pre-existing condition or damage in their joints, like arthritis.
Diagnosing a Hip Fracture Injury
Doctors diagnose a hip fracture injury by taking a complete medical history, conducting an exam, and by taking x-rays or CT scans. Fractures in the pelvic bone will show clearly on a CT scan or x-ray in most cases, making it easy for doctors to make a diagnosis and move forward with treatment. During this procedure, the doctor will also look for damage to nerves and to blood vessels.
Complications after a Hip Fracture
Hip fractures are not just like any other bone break. In fact, they can be much more serious, especially for those individuals in their older years. Hip fractures have been known to force some older adults to live in a nursing home or other care facility for more than a year before being able to function at normal capacity again. Some individuals are never able to fully recover. Those who become immobile as a result of a hip injury are susceptible to even further injuries and complications including:
- Bed sores from lying in bed all the time and refusing to move around because of the pain.
- Blood clots that will most likely be found in the legs or in the lungs, and that can lead to death if not properly treated and avoided.
- Pneumonia, from not being able to move around and get your body fluids moving
- UTIs, or urinary tract infections, which are extremely common among the bed ridden and those living in nursing homes.
- Increased risk of having a second hip fracture. Even after the repair of your hip the first time, you will never be the same person and you will become even more susceptible to being injured.
People who sustain serious hip fracture injuries reportedly live shorter lives as a result of their injuries than they may have lived had they not sustained the injury in the first place. It is crucial to focus on living your life but living it safely in order to ensure that you will not have to worry about sustaining serious injuries, like a hip fracture injury, while you are out living your life.
Take the Proper Steps to Avoid a Hip Fracture
Preventing hip fracture injuries is more difficult than it seems because you cannot control what other people do. Many injuries are the result of negligence on the part of another person. Car crashes, slip and fall accidents, and other types of hazards that are caused by other people are well known for causing serious injuries to victims. As a victim or potential victim there's only so much you can do to protect yourself but it is important to remember that if you follow the law on the road, watch where your feet are taking you and promptly report maintenance problems wherever you go, you will substantially reduce your risk of being injured or sustaining a long term injury to your pelvis.
If you are living in a nursing home, some of the best prevention methods for your safety from a hip fracture injury include:
- Wear gripping shoes that will grab the floor even in the presence of a liquid spill.
- Watch where you're walking and ensure that you know that fall hazards aren't just about slipping; watch out for rugs and debris from packaging, etc.
- Contact maintenance immediately when you see a hazard so it isn't waiting for you later.
If you're a young person looking to avoid sustaining a hip fracture injury:
- Be careful when you ride, bike, or walk anywhere and always be on the look out for drivers that aren't looking.
- Take precautions when you are taking place in recreational activities and take safety courses for your sport or recreational activity to learn how to fall in ways that protect your organs, your pelvis and other major parts
- Always think safety and don't horse around!
Getting Help from a Phoenix Hip Injury Attorney
Call the Phoenix injury attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. at (602) 267-1280 to get an understanding of how to move forward with your life. They have handled cases like yours before and can help you get the compensation you need.