Hip Injuries From Falling: 8 Things To Know

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Old age, osteoporosis, and poor balance can increase the risk of developing common fall-induced hip damage, such as fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue injuries that can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving.
  • A physical examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or X-rays may be required to obtain a diagnosis of your hip injury. Depending on the injury’s severity, treatment options range from rest and physical therapy to surgery.
  • Hip-damaging falls can be avoided by adding home safety modifications and trying balance training or strengthening exercises.
  • Anyone suspecting they may have sustained a severe hip injury should seek medical attention immediately, as timely treatment is essential for recovery.

Understanding Hip Injuries From Falling

Older people are more likely to develop hip injuries from falling because of age-related decreases in muscle strength, bone density, and balance. Common fall-induced hip injuries include fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue damage, which can cause pain, swelling, and reduced mobility.

You can decrease your risk of hip-damaging falls by making your home safer by adding railings and eliminating trip hazards. You can also perform routine exercises that build strength and balance to improve your stability.

If you get a hip injury from falling, contact an experienced joint specialist as soon as possible to facilitate treatment and recovery. Sometimes, a complete physical examination and imaging tests like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-rays may be used to diagnose the injury.

Depending on the severity of the injury, various treatment options are available, including conservative measures like rest, over-the-counter pain medications, and physical therapy. Hip joint surgery may be needed to fix structural issues in more serious situations. A qualified joint specialist will know how to treat your hip injury from falling, but you should still educate yourself on the eight topics below.

1. Common Types of Injuries

The first essential thing to know is how falling can damage your hip in different ways. The following injuries are some of the most common results of falling.

Hip Fractures

Falling down steps or onto a hard surface like concrete can generate a hip fracture, a fissure in the upper part of the thigh bone. More than 300,000 United States citizens sustain hip fractures every year, and the majority of these people are over 65 years old and injured in household settings.

Hip fractures usually cause localized pain in the groin and upper thigh. People with this injury frequently cannot stand or move the upper parts of their legs—this forces them to lay in bed, increasing their risk of bed sores, blood clots, and pneumonia.


When the femur, the head of the thigh bone, is driven out of its socket in the pelvis, the result is a traumatic hip dislocation. An event that delivers significant force, such as a fall or car accident, is usually required to dislocate the hip. In roughly 90% of hip dislocation instances, the femur is forced out of the socket in a backward direction, while about 10% of cases show the femur dislocating in a forward direction.

A dislocated hip can cause excruciating pain. Sometimes, patients with hip-related dislocations may not have feeling or control over their foot or ankle region due to nerve injury.

Soft Tissue Injuries

The hip and pelvis regions house several soft tissues that a fall can injure. Some examples of soft tissue injuries affecting the hip and pelvis are:

  • Adductor strain
  • Iliopsoas syndrome
  • Gluteal tendinopathy

If you tear or overstretch the soft tissues throughout your hip, you may not be able to bear weight on the affected part of your body. Rehabilitation for soft tissue injuries in the hip and pelvis region can take months and force people to skip sports and other physical activities that they enjoy.

If you are experiencing hip pain, contact your medical provider to get your injury diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. The medical professional may assess your risk factors before a comprehensive physical examination.

2. Risk Factors

Everyone is vulnerable to hip injuries from falling, but having certain traits and disorders can increase your risk. The following factors can make it more likely for someone to develop a fall-induced hip injury.


Due to natural decreases in muscle strength, balance, and reaction time, aging makes older people more susceptible to falls and accompanying hip injuries. In fact, falls account for nearly 95% of hip fractures in older adults.


Considering brittle and weak bones are more likely to break under traumatic force, osteoporosis, a disease that lowers mineral density and bone mass, can increase the risk of hip fractures and other fall-related injuries.

Poor Balance

If someone lacks sufficient muscle strength or motor functions, they may struggle to stay balanced, especially while walking up stairs. Poor balance increases the risk of falls, resulting in hip fractures or soft tissue injuries.

If any of the above risk factors apply to you, contact an experienced joint specialist to learn about preventive measures you can take to avoid hip-damaging falls.

3. Symptoms and Diagnosis

If you have fallen, it is essential that you pay attention to your body so that you can recognize symptoms that indicate hip injuries that need medical attention. Some examples of symptoms that can result from fall-induced hip injuries are:

  • Sharp, dull, or achy pain in the hip or groin
  • Stiffness and tightness throughout the hip
  • Swelling with warmth and redness in the affected area
  • Difficulty moving the hip or leg
  • Popping or locking of the hip joint

People experiencing the symptoms above should schedule a consultation with their medical provider to diagnose the issue and build a treatment plan. Each injury may require a unique diagnostic approach, but some common methods used to diagnose hip injuries are:

  • Physical examinations
  • X-rays
  • MRIs

Medical imaging, such as X-rays and MRIs, is excellent for getting an inside look at the body. X-rays use electromagnetic radiation to examine bones and joints. In contrast, MRIs use radio waves and magnetic fields to show most bodily structures and organs, including bones, blood vessels, and soft tissues like muscles.

4. Prevention Strategies

Although a medical professional may be able to help you mitigate hip pain, you should still avoid fall-induced hip injuries by taking preventive measures and honing your muscle strength and balance. The following prevention strategies can help reduce the risk of hip-damaging falls.

Strengthening Exercises

Strengthening activities, especially those that target the legs and core, can help avoid hip-damaging falls by increasing muscle strength. Building muscle mass around your hip joint improves stability and facilitates more controlled movements, lowering the risk of losing balance and falling.

Balance Training

The major goal of balance training is to enhance coordination and proprioception, which is the awareness of body position and movement. This lowers the chance of falls that might result in hip injuries by enabling people to retain stability and respond quickly to changes in position or terrain.

Home Safety Modifications

Home safety improvements can reduce the risk of tripping or slipping incidents by eliminating dangers like loose carpets. Adding grab bars in restrooms, upgrading lighting, and ensuring clear routes are excellent ways to prevent falls throughout your home, decreasing your risk for hip injuries.

Unfortunately, even with preventative measures, falls can still happen. If you sustained a hip injury from falling, you should discuss treatment options with a qualified joint specialist as soon as possible to facilitate healing.

5. Treatment Options

Treatment options can vary based on the severity of the injury and the patient’s needs. Some examples of treatment options that a medical professional may recommend for your hip injury are:

After diagnosing your joint issue, your joint specialist should be able to help you build a treatment plan tailored to your unique situation.

Return to the Activities You Love

Our board-certified surgeons at The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale use the latest methods in hip surgery to provide you with the best possible outcome.

6. Recovery Timeline

The recovery timeline for hip replacement surgery usually allows patients to return to normal daily activities gradually after a few weeks. The recovery timeline for hip revision surgery also allows some patients to return to everyday activities after a few weeks of physical therapy. Nevertheless, it can take several months for a patient to fully recover after one of these surgeries, and they may still require long-term lifestyle adaptations to preserve the function of their artificial hip.

The recovery timeline for each type of hip surgery can vary depending on health and lifestyle factors, including the patient’s age, nutrition, and preexisting conditions. Thankfully, some joint specialists use cutting-edge technology like Mako SmartRobotics, which allows for minimally invasive hip surgeries with abbreviated recovery times.

7. Complications

Many people avoid hip surgeries because they do not want to go through an inconvenient recovery period. However, more complications can arise if you do not get your hip injury treated by a qualified professional. Some examples of complications that can accompany untreated hip injuries are:

  • Chronic pain, especially when you move your hip or legs.
  • Decreased mobility and inability to perform some activities.
  • Increased risk of future falls due to hindered function of the hip.

Untreated hip injuries can lead to osteoarthritis. You should schedule a consultation with a joint specialist to limit your complication risk.

8. When to Seek Medical Attention

You should seek medical attention if you suspect that you have sustained any hip injury from falling. So, you should contact a trusted joint specialist if you have fallen and are experiencing severe pain, swelling, bruising, or an inability to bear weight in your hip region. Starting your individualized treatment plan as soon as possible is a great way to help preserve your joint’s function and achieve the best possible outcome.

Get Started On The Path To Recovery

Sustaining a hip injury from falling is more common in older adults because of age-related decreases in muscular strength, bone density, and balance. Fall-induced hip injuries frequently include fractures, dislocations, and soft tissue damage, and they can cause pain, swelling, and limited mobility.

You should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of hip-damaging falls. Install handrails and minimize tripping hazards to make your home safer. Additionally, you should perform regular strength and balance training to improve stability.

The Joint Replacement Center of Scottsdale will know how to treat your hip injury from falling. Our experienced joint specialists can perform physical examinations and utilize imaging procedures like an MRI or X-ray to diagnose your injury. Treatment options range from alternative therapies like PEMF therapy to surgical procedures for more serious instances needing hip joint structural repair.

Schedule a consultation to develop a customized treatment plan for your hip injury from falling.