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Recovering from a broken hip

If you've broken your hip, it should heal as normal. If your general health is poor when you break your hip, it may take longer for you to recover after surgery and return to living independently.


What does treatment involve?

A broken hip usually needs an operation to fix or replace the top of the thighbone.

The operation can be carried out under a general anaesthetic, or by giving an injection into your spine to numb the lower half of your body.

The operation should happen as soon as possible after you break your hip. But it may be delayed if you have a urine or chest infection, anaemia or heart problems.


What does recovery involve?

You should get up and about as soon as possible after your surgery – usually on the day after the operation. A physiotherapist will usually support you to get out of bed and use a walking frame. This will give yourself the best chances of recovery. It will also help to reduce your chances of problems like a chest infection or blood clots. 

Take it steady at first. You'll gradually become more mobile as the days pass.

To help with the pain after your operation, you will either have regular pain-relieving injections or an analgesia pump. This is a pump you control yourself to give safe amounts of medicine into a vein.

The length of time you stay in hospital can be between five days and three weeks. The exact amount of time will depend on how fit and healthy you were before breaking your hip.

You may need a period of rehabilitation after your operation before you can go home safely. Your physiotherapist can recommend some suitable exercises to help with your recovery.

Watch our discussion on recovering from a broken hip: 

If you or someone you know has a broken hip, you may be interested in watching a conversation with osteoporosis experts, Professor Celia Gregson and Dr Katie Sheehan who discussed recovery as part of our #BoneMatters series of events 

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Watch our #BoneMatters Extra discussion:  

We also discussed the practical issues of supporting a loved one as they recover from a broken hip as part of our #BoneMatters series of events

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The Falls and Fragility Fracture Audit Programme has some more useful information on hip fractures. Read their booklet on hip fractures and what to expect on the road to recovery. They also have resources for family carers.

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