Anatomy Physiology

What is the anatomy of the hip region?

Femoral head and neck has a unique arrangement and orientation and thus any disruption can lead to deformity, reduced mobility and related symptoms. When considering the anatomical formation, the relatively thin neck of the femur will link the strong femur bone to the partially globe shaped head of the femur. The head in turn would be lodged in the cavity located in the pelvic bone and would provide the lower limb with its mobility as well as the ability to bear the whole body weight.

How do fractures in the femoral head and neck occur?

When the bones become relatively fragile, as the person reaches the elderly age, they are more prone to fracture the relatively weak neck of the femur or else the impact bearing head of the femur. Most often, the condition occurs at time of a fall and thus emphasizes the need to prevent falls in the elderly persons.

What are the complications related to fractures in the femoral head and neck?

Following a fall, the fracture can take place in different locations in the region and thus give rise to different types of complications. We will take a look at some of these complications one by one.

* Avascular necrosis of the femoral head

In its unique anatomical arrangement, the blood supply to the head of the femur would be running through the neck of the femur and thus certain fractures can disrupt the supply and lead to a condition known as ‘avascular necrosis of the femoral head’. The condition can present as infections, sepsis, pain, restricted movements, collapse of the hip joint, osteoarthritis…etc.

* Mal-union

When the segments are not properly aligned or aligned incorrectly with each other, there could be deformed hip joint, restricted mobility, pain, improper weight bearing leading to osteoarthritis and at times other local reactions.

* Non union

When a fracture doesn’t heal properly or have non-union, it would lead to many complications including infections, inflammation, mal-union or mal-alignment…etc.

* Complications related to immobility

Patients who sustain such fractures will at times be bedridden for a prolonged duration and thus will be more prone to develop complications such as stiffness, bed sores, deep vein thrombosis, embolization…etc.

Thus, when considering these complications, it would be evident that such fractures need to be corrected rather quickly as well as appropriately in order to regain the mobility of the patient as well as to reduce these complications.