Hip fracture - discharge
Hip fracture surgery is done to repair a break in the upper part of your thigh bone. This article tells you how to take care of yourself when you go home from the hospital.
Inter-trochanteric fracture repair - discharge; Subtrochanteric fracture repair - discharge; Femoral neck fracture repair - discharge; Trochanteric fracture repair - discharge; Hip pinning surgery - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
You were in the hospital for surgery to repair a hip fracture, a break in the upper part of your thigh bone. You may have had hip pinning surgery or a special metal plate or rod with screws, called compression screws or nails, put in place. Alternatively, you may have had a hip replacement to replace your hip joint.
You should have received physical therapy while you were in the hospital or at a rehabilitation center before going home from the hospital.
What to Expect at Home
Most of the problems that develop after hip fracture surgery can be prevented by getting out of bed and walking as soon as possible. For this reason, it is very important to stay active and follow the instructions your health care provider gave you.
You may have bruises around your incision. These will go away. It is normal for the skin around your incision to be a little red. It is also normal to have a small amount of watery or dark bloody fluid draining from your incision for several days.
It is not normal to have foul smell or drainage that last more than the first 3 to 4 days after surgery. It is also not normal when the wound starts to hurt more after leaving the hospital.
Do the exercises your physical therapist taught you. Ask your provider how much weight you can put on your leg. You should be using crutches and walker when you leave the hospital. Your provider and physical therapist will help you decide when you do not need crutches, a cane, or a walker anymore.
Ask your provider or physical therapist about when to start using a stationary bicycle and swimming as extra exercises to build your muscles and bones.
Try not to sit for more than 45 minutes at a time without getting up and moving around.
DO NOT bend at the waist or the hips when you put your shoes and socks on. DO NOT bend down to pick up things from the floor.
Use a raised toilet seat for the first couple of weeks. Your provider will tell you when it is OK to use a regular toilet seat. DO NOT sleep on your stomach or on the side you had your surgery.
Have a bed that is low enough so that your feet touch the floor when you sit on the edge of the bed.
Keep tripping hazards out of your home.
Set up your home so that you do not have to climb steps. Some tips are:
If you do not have someone to help you at home for the first 1 to 2 weeks, ask your provider about having a trained caregiver come to your home to help you.
You may start showering again when your provider says it is OK. After you shower, gently pat the incision area dry with a clean towel. DO NOT rub it dry.
DO NOT soak your wound in a bathtub, swimming pool, or hot tub until your provider says it is OK.
Change your dressing (bandage) over your incision every day if your provider says it is OK. Gently wash the wound with soap and water and pat it dry.
Check your incision for any signs of infection at least once a day. These signs include:
To prevent another fracture, do everything you can to make your bones strong.
Keep wearing the compression stockings you used in the hospital until your provider says you can stop. Wearing them for at least 2 or 3 weeks may help reduce clots after surgery. You may also be given a blood thinner. This may be in pill form or by injection.
If you have pain, take the pain medicines you were prescribed. Getting up and moving around can also help reduce your pain.
If you have problems with your eyesight or hearing, get them checked.
Be careful not to get pressure sores (also called pressure ulcers or bed sores) from staying in bed or a chair for long periods of time.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you have:
Ly TV, Swiontkowski MF. Intracapsular hip fractures. In: Browner BD, Jupiter JB, Krettek C, Anderson PA, eds. Skeletal Trauma: Basic Science, Management, and Reconstruction. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 54.
Weinlein JC. Fractures and dislocations of the hip. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 55.
Review Date: 11/5/2018
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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