Geriatric FractureGeriatric fracture is a term used to describe a bone break that occurs in an older patient. These types of fractures most often occur in the hip and are much more common in women. In fact, nearly 50% of women and almost one third of men over the age of 65 will suffer a major osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime.
Causes of Geriatric FractureA fracture occurs when the force applied to a bone is more than the bone can handle. In the case of geriatric fractures, bones have become more brittle because of age or have been weakened by conditions like osteoporosis or cancer. Falls and car accidents are major causes of geriatric fractures, though they can also happen when a repetitive motion has tired muscles, allowing more pressure on the bone. Individuals who live a sedentary lifestyle or frequently consume alcohol have an increased risk of fractures.
Symptoms of Geriatric Fracture
The symptoms of a geriatric fracture are usually fairly easy to identify, especially when the injury has occurred as the result of an accident. They can include:
- Sudden pain
- Difficulty moving the injured area
- Pain in the thigh, outer hip, pelvis or groin area
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Bruising or redness
- Physical changes, such as one leg that’s shorter than the other
Diagnosing Geriatric Fracture
To diagnose a geriatric fracture, a doctor will review a patient’s entire medical history, ask questions about their injury and perform a physical examination. Additionally, the patient may also be asked to undergo an X-ray to locate the fracture and determine its severity. If an X-ray is inconclusive, the doctor may request an MRI or bone scan to help identify a hairline fracture.
Treatments for Geriatric Fracture
The treatment options for geriatric fractures depend on the type of injury as well as the patient’s age and overall health.
For hip fractures (one of the most common types of geriatric fracture), options include:
- Surgery, which may include the insertion of metal screws, nails or plates to secure the bones during the healing process
- A hip replacement procedure to remove the brittle and damaged hip bones
- Physical therapy to help the patient regain movement, flexibility and strength
- Over-the-counter or prescription medications to help manage pain and inflammation