Healing From Hip Fractures With Physical Therapy

Better balance and peace of mind are just the beginning
By Ben Wobker, PT, MSPT, CSCS, SFMAc
Healing From Hip Fractures With Physical Therapy

If you’re over age 65, chances are good you or someone you know has had a fall. In fact, one in four American seniors falls, resulting in an emergency room visit every 11 seconds, according to the National Council on Aging. Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that seniors suffer from a majority of hip fractures, which may lead to a partial or total hip replacement.

A hip fracture, which is a break in the thighbone (femur) of your hip joint, commonly occurs in two places:

  • Femoral neck fractures happen 1 to 2 inches from the hip joint. This type of fracture can be linked to osteoporosis and is common among seniors.
  • Intertrochanteric hip fractures happen 3 to 4 inches from the joint. 

Dr. Bob Adams at Evergreen Health in Seattle and 25+ years as the USA Track & Field team doctor states that “a stress fracture—a hairline crack in the femur (thighbone)—may be harder to diagnose and can feel like you have tendonitis or muscle strain ache.” Adding that a “thorough musculoskeletal exam is critical in early detection and diagnosis.”

How Do I Know If I Have a Hip Fracture?

The experts at the Mayo Clinic indicate you may have a hip fracture if you:

  • Are unable to move after a fall.
  • Have severe pain in your hip or groin.
  • Can’t put weight on your leg on the side of your injured hip.
  • Have stiffness, bruising, and swelling in and around your hip area.
  • Have a shorter leg or a turning outward of the leg on the side of your injured hip.

Far more women—about 70%—have hip fractures than men. Physical inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, certain medications, and a lack of calcium and vitamin D all increase your chance of getting a hip fracture. 

On-Demand Physical Therapy for Your Hip Fracture

If you have a hip fracture, you’ll likely have surgery followed by physical therapy at the hospital. With on-demand physical therapy, you can receive further treatment at home or a rehabilitation center— usually for about six weeks. The PT can assess your home environment to identify any obstacles, such as stairs, and prescribe a customized treatment plan to help you:

  • Avoid a return hospital visit (readmission costs for hip fractures range from about $14,000 to $25,000)! 
  • Regain your mobility, balance, and strength.
  • Develop personal care strategies.
  • Heal faster and enjoy peace of mind. 
  • Return to independence as soon as possible.

Can Bundled Payments Save You Money?

Your on-demand physical therapist communicates with the physician, notifying them of your progress and ensuring that your treatment plan follows the surgeon’s recommendations. This coordination of care is vital to your recovery.

In fact, an alternative form of paying for your healthcare, called bundled payments, encourages providers to pre-plan your entire course of care— including physical therapy. The goal is to ensure a better recovery. With bundled payments, the cost is determined in advance. If the total cost is above this target price, then the care providers—not you—cover the cost. This includes the costs due to complications and hospital readmissions. If the cost is below the target price, then the providers share in the savings. 

Bundled payments for joint replacement procedures appear to be successful. A Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services joint replacement payment bundle saved U.S. taxpayers $5,577 per patient for nearly 4,000 patients.

No matter how or where you hurt your hip, fractures are painful. With proper care, including physical therapy, you can get back on your feet safely and enjoy your life again. Find out how Luna on-demand physical therapy can help. Contact us today.

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