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How Do I Treat a Hip Stress Fracture?

A severe hip stress fracture may need hip replacement surgery to fix.
Crutches may be required to help treat a hip stress fracture.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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Hip stress fractures are painful fractures along the hip that can lead to immobility as well as an inability to engage in everyday activities. People who suffer with bone conditions such as osteoporosis are at an increased risk for fractures of this type. Fortunately, there are ways to treat a hip stress fracture and minimize the pain while paving the way for recovery.

One of the first steps in addressing a hip stress fracture is to make the patient as comfortable as possible. Toward this end, a physician is likely to prescribe some sort of pain medication. The doctor will make sure the medication prescribed will not trigger any negative interactions with other medications you are already taking. Depending on the degree of pain you are experiencing, your doctor may also recommend the use of over the counter medications, such as basic anti-inflammatory medications.

Along with managing the pain associated with the hip stress fracture, your physician may also require that you wear some sort of protective bandaging that helps to immobilize the hip. This is to take some of the stress off the fractured hip, making it easier for your body’s natural healing processes to begin mending the damage. Along with wrapping the hip, there is also a good chance that your doctor will recommend the use of crutches or a walker while the hip is healing.

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Depending on the severity of the hip stress fracture, surgery may be required to facilitate the healing process. This is especially true if the stress fracture is the result of some sort of physical trauma, such as an accident. Surgery can allow healthcare professionals to visually assess the damage, help to set the fragments back into alignment, and possibly install pins or other devices that will help ease some of the strain on the damaged area. If the damage is especially severe, hip replacement surgery may be required.

In many cases, mild to moderate fractures can heal in a matter of weeks. This is especially true of the individual is in good physical condition. However, when some type of debilitating condition is also present, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, the recovery time is likely to be much longer. By taking steps to minimize the stress on the fractured hip, taking medication to manage the pain, and using support equipment to move around when and as necessary, the hip stress fracture will eventually mend, and you can return to your daily routine without fear of making your condition worse.

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Discuss this Article

fify
Post 3

@simrin-- Yea, it can take up to six months for a hip stress fracture to heal and keeping weight off of it is the best thing you can do.

Has your doctor told you about a bone growth stimulator? This is a recommended treatment for people who have difficult to heal fractures. It sounds like it applies to you.

What they do during this treatment is they apply a low amount of ultrasound or electrical current (not harmful) to the fracture to promote the bone to grow and heal.

This treatment is not suitable for every kind of fracture, but at your next checkup, you might want to ask your doctor about it. My sister received a twenty minute bone growth stimulation several times a week for three months for her hip fracture. It did speed up healing time.

SteamLouis
Post 2

@turkay1-- I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my hip four weeks ago. I've quit my regular cardio exercises for now, but I swim like you said. Some regular exercises don't hurt me and my doctor said that I can do any exercise which doesn't give me pain. I wanted to be extra careful though because I have osteoporosis.

As of right now, my treatment consists of an anti-inflammatory medication and pain reliever. There isn't much else I can do other than wait for it to heal. I went for a checkup just yesterday though and the doctor checked to see if my fracture has started healing, and it apparently hasn't.

My doctor said that osteoporosis can extend healing time and that it might take more than usual. What else can I do to speed up healing? I'm really worried that the fracture is not going to heal all the way because of my osteoporosis. I don't have too much pain while walking, but I do have pain while sitting down, standing still or laying down.

candyquilt
Post 1

This is something that happens to runners a lot. I've experienced it myself and I know quite a few other runners who have.

The biggest issue that runners have while treating a hip stress fracture, is they refuse to rest. I get so upset when people tell me that they have a fracture and they still run everyday! How can you expect your hip to heal if you don't rest? Pain relievers can ease hip pain from a stress fracture, but they can't heal you. Your body has to do that and you have to let it.

When I meet runners who have injuries like this, I tell them that if they're that keen on staying active while their treatment is going on, then swim! Exercise in water takes off the weight and pressure that is put on our bodies during normal exercise. At least you won't further damage your body.

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