May 11th, 2011
11:30 AM ET

How long does a broken hip take to heal?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Asked by Faye from Farmville, North Carolina

How long does it take to completely recover from hip fracture? I fell on December 8, then had surgery December 10 and came home from the hospital December 11. I'm doing well - walking with a cane but still limping.

Expert answer

Dear Faye:

A broken hip is one of the most common orthopedic injuries in people over the age of 65. It usually occurs as a result of a fall. It is often associated with osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is often referred to as having brittle bones due to a loss of calcium.

Although there are several kinds of hip fractures, most are repaired with a hip replacement, also known as a total hip arthroplasty. Approximately 150,000 hip replacement operations are done each year in the U.S., and 500,000 are done worldwide. About half of these surgeries are done under emergency circumstances for a broken hip, and half are planned surgeries because of arthritis or other hip problems.

In this operation, the top of the femur (thigh) bone is cut off and a "man-made" top of femur replaces it. This prosthesis is circular or ball-like on top and generally made of metal. A semicircular plastic liner is placed in that part of the pelvis known as the acetabulum. This is where the upper leg comes in contact with the pelvis. The ball-like top of femur sits and moves in the semi-circular acetabulum, and this defines the hip joint.

In the surgery, a lot of muscles and ligaments are pulled and held away from the joint to allow the surgeon access. In this process, these soft tissues are damaged and need to heal after surgery. The patient who has a routine recovery can expect bruising of muscle and inflammation of the tendons at a minimum. These flesh injuries and tendonitis can be extremely painful and limit mobility. It can take several months to a year before complete recovery.

Those whose progress becomes stagnant at any time after surgery should have an evaluation by their orthopedic surgeon. The most common reason for a plateau in recovery is muscle weakness. Patients do benefit from regular physical therapy. Weight training and stretching can strengthen muscles and stretch ligaments. It is unfortunate that there is a tendency to skip physical therapy or take short cuts. This is a special problem among older patients.

Leg length discrepancy is also a common problem after surgery. Orthopedists do work hard to minimize leg length discrepancy, but it is difficult to do. A shoe lift may be needed to equalize the limb length, and some patients do end up needing a cane permanently.

Less common problems are heterotopic ossification and loosening of the artificial hip.

Heterotopic ossification involves a fibrous band that grows about the joint. It causes a stiffening of the hip and can begin occurring 10 days to two years after hip surgery.

Loose hip prostheses were a significant problem 20 years ago but less so today. Loosening of the artificial hip is more common among people who are overweight. When walking, a heavier person puts more stress on the prosthesis as it goes into the bone. Both heterotopic ossification and loosening of the prosthesis are diagnosed with physical examination and radiologic imaging.

soundoff (1,827 Responses)
  1. riverside collision provo


    May 26, 2021 at 00:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Tembepteriope

    https://chloroquinedoge.com/ viagra sildenafil how much sildenafil is too much sildenafil citrate 20 mg sildenafil citrate 50mg

    May 26, 2021 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. rv parts indio

    There is certainly a great deal to know about this issue. I like all of the points you made.


    May 26, 2021 at 00:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. paint shops near me


    May 26, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 20 mg dosage https://chloroquinemil.com/ sildenafil reviews sildenafil and alcohol how does sildenafil work

    May 26, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. avanafil

    avana 100 mg buy avanafil

    May 26, 2021 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. orange county rv


    May 26, 2021 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 100mg price at walmart sildenafil warnings sildenafil price https://chloroquinemil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 02:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. horse trailer awning installation

    I blog quite often and I really thank you for your content. This article has truly peaked my interest. I will take a note of your blog and keep checking for new information about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed as well.


    May 26, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Tembepteriope

    how long does it take for sildenafil to take effect https://chloroquinemil.com/ roman sildenafil how to take sildenafil sildenafil cost

    May 26, 2021 at 03:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil reviews https://chloroquinervn.com/ – what is sildenafil sildenafil citrate side effects sildenafilo https://chloroquinecan.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 04:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil alcohol https://chloroquinecan.com/ – sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension sildenafil tablets sildenafil 20 mg dosage what is sildenafil

    May 26, 2021 at 05:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. rv body repair shops near me


    May 26, 2021 at 06:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tembepteriope

    how does sildenafil work sildenafil for dogs sildenafil price sildenafil generic https://hydroxychloroquinetc.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 06:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RV Parts California


    May 26, 2021 at 06:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. RV Solar Panels Systems Near Me


    May 26, 2021 at 07:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Tembepteriope

    https://aralenquinesen.com/ sildenafil 50 mg sildenafil 100mg review sildenafil brand name how long does it take for sildenafil to take effect

    May 26, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. semi shop near me

    This web site certainly has all the information and facts I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 26, 2021 at 08:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Tembepteriope

    https://hydroaaralen.com/ sildenafil 100mg https://chloroquinecan.com/ – sildenafil 20 mg tablet sildenafil 30 mg

    May 26, 2021 at 08:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. avanafil

    avana 50 mg avana canada

    May 26, 2021 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Tembepteriope

    https://aralenquinestrx.com/ sildenafil price walmart https://chloroquineetc.com/ – sildenafil citrate 50mg sildenafil 100mg review

    May 26, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. SEO Marketing Company Near Me

    Excellent article! We are linking to this great post on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 26, 2021 at 12:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil 20 mg tablet hims sildenafil sildenafil side effects buy sildenafil online https://chloroquineef.com/ – sildenafil

    May 26, 2021 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Tritreviewifind

    tadalafil tadalafil generic where to order tadalafil tablets side effects for tadalafil https://tadacipetadalafil.com/ – tadalafil liquid

    May 26, 2021 at 12:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil for pulmonary hypertension https://hydroxychloroquineth.com/ – sildenafil for women sildenafil 100mg review sildenafil vs cialis sildenafil dosage timing

    May 26, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. rv orange county ca


    May 26, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Dodge Sprinter 3500 2006 Window Repair


    May 26, 2021 at 14:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil para que es how long does it take for sildenafil to work sildenafil citrate side effects sildenafil tablets 100mg https://chloroquinemil.com/ – how long does it take for sildenafil to work

    May 26, 2021 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. trailer body repair

    Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post! It is the little changes that will make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!


    May 26, 2021 at 14:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. upholstery repair shop near me

    You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more info about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this web site.


    May 26, 2021 at 15:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Tembepteriope

    https://chloroquinesab.com/ how long does it take for sildenafil to take effect sildenafil brand name sildenafilo does sildenafil work

    May 26, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil generic https://chloroquineth.com/ – sildenafil 20 mg not working what is sildenafil used for sildenafil citrate 20 mg sildenafil 100mg price at walmart

    May 26, 2021 at 16:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv refrigerator repair near me

    After going over a handful of the blog posts on your web page, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site as well and tell me your opinion.


    May 26, 2021 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Tembepteriope

    tadalafil brands https://tadagatadalafil.com/ generic cialis tadalafil tadalafil generic best price usa tadalafil

    May 26, 2021 at 17:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil uses sildenafil citrate 20 mg viagra sildenafil viagra sildenafil https://chloroquineef.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 17:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Soosteemocush

    tadalafil liquid https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil liquid generic cialis online fast shipping where to buy generic cialis online safely https://cttadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Tembepteriope

    https://provogilpleasure.com/ sildenafil citrate https://chloroquinecan.com/ – how long does it take for sildenafil to work sildenafil 100mg coupon

    May 26, 2021 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil precio https://aralenquinesab.com/ sildenafil 20 mg sildenafil side effects sildenafil uses

    May 26, 2021 at 19:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. car wraps orange county

    Hello! I simply wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for your great info you have right here on this post. I'll be returning to your website for more soon.


    May 26, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. RV Repair Riverside


    May 26, 2021 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Tembepteriope

    https://tadalafilfil.com/# sildenafil 100mg https://hydrochloroquineada.com/ – sildenafil side effects how long does sildenafil last

    May 26, 2021 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Repair Near Me

    Everything is very open with a clear description of the challenges. It was truly informative. Your website is useful. Thanks for sharing!


    May 26, 2021 at 21:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Tembepteriope

    https://hydroaralen.com/ how does sildenafil work sildenafil citrate 50mg sildenafil otc sildenafil 100 mg

    May 26, 2021 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Tembepteriope

    cialis tadalafil https://tadagatadalafil.com/ – tadalafil blood pressure buy tadalafil tadalafil side effects https://tadagatadalafil.com/

    May 26, 2021 at 21:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. truck shop oc


    May 26, 2021 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Content Marketing Business

    I like it when individuals get together and share thoughts. Great site, stick with it!


    May 26, 2021 at 21:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil and alcohol https://chloroquinendi.com/ – sildenafil 20 sildenafil pills how to take sildenafil sildenafil moa

    May 26, 2021 at 22:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Tembepteriope

    sildenafilo https://hydroxyaralen.com/ sildenafil contraindications roman sildenafil hims sildenafil

    May 26, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Tembepteriope

    sildenafil interactions sildenafil 100mg coupon how long does it take for sildenafil to take effect sildenafil 20 mg https://azithromycinetc.com – sildenafil or tadalafil

    May 27, 2021 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Tembepteriope

    goodrx sildenafil https://chloroquinecan.com/ – sildenafil 20 mg not working tadalafil vs sildenafil sildenafil citrate 20 mg https://chloroquinesab.com/

    May 27, 2021 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.