The hip is a ball and socket joint, with the femur (thigh bone) connecting to the pelvis. The top of the femur bone, known as the head, attaches at the acetabulum, which is the socket portion of the joint. Lined with cartilage to allow for smooth movement and range of motion of the femur within the joint, a fracture to the hip socket is known as an acetabular fracture. While less common than fractures of the ball of the hip joint, acetabular fractures are more common in older adults, and women suffering from osteoporosis. This type of fracture primarily occurs as a result of blunt force trauma/impact injuries typical in car accidents, or from a hard fall.
Symptoms of Acetabular Breaks and Fractures
The most common symptom of a hip socket fracture is intense pain, and problems walking and moving the affected leg without assistance. This type of fracture has over ten potential fracture patterns. In addition to minimizing pain and restoring function and mobility in the joint, treatment aims to preserve the cartilage in the joint in order to preserve the bone and prevent further joint deterioration in the future.
Pain in the hip is the most common symptom, but acetabular fractures can cause pain in the leg and groin as well.
Acetabular Fracture Diagnosis and Treatment in Beverly Hills
Following a comprehensive physical exam and medical history, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel C. Allison may order diagnostic imaging tests to determine if the hip joint has been fractured, and the particular fracture pattern in the case of a broken hip socket.
Acetabular fractures are typically repaired through surgery, depending on the patient and the extent of their injuries. When the cause of the break is a car accident for example, there may be additional, more complex injuries to take into account when designing a treatment plan. Surgery is most often prescribed for younger patients, whereas older patients may be treated with conservative methods like rest and physical therapy when possible. All hip sockets fractures will require a period of physical therapy to help strengthen the hip joint, even for patients who undergo hip reconstruction surgery.
The goals of acetabular reconstruction surgery are generally to:
- Repair cartilage damage
- Repair hip instability
- Remove loose bone fragments and debris in the joint
- Restore alignment to the joint by fixing placement of the ball securely into the socket
Benefits of Acetabular Reconstruction Surgery
Patients with this type of injury have a greater risk of developing arthritis in the hip socket. Surgery to correct instability and clean up the joint space can help to mitigate the risk of cartilage degeneration and chronic pain in the future. Using a combination of plates and screws, Dr. Allison reconstructs the hip socket so that the joint is properly aligned to allow for full movement and range of motion, which in turn helps to preserve the cartilage and bone.
Depending on the range and complexity of the injury, hip socket reconstruction may be performed arthroscopically, or as an open procedure.
Contact an Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
If you are suffering from persistent hip pain, stiffness, or problems with mobility, you may be suffering from a hip fracture or joint condition. A timely diagnosis and treatment is essential to preventing cartilage deterioration and permanent damage to the joint. For more information on diagnostic and treatment options, or to obtain a second opinion on a previous diagnosis, contact board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Daniel C. Allison at (310) 730-8008 to schedule an appointment today.
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