Fractures > Treatments
Physical therapy is crucial
to help strengthen the muscles around your hip and to
help ensure your hip regains a full range of motion.
Range of motion is extremely important. Movement may
be painful at first, but it is important to avoid stiffening
in your hip. For the first few days, your physical therapist
may help you move your hip in different directions to
stretch out the joint. You typically avoid bending your
hip to the ends of its range of motion until pain decreases.
Weight bearing is usually delayed until X–rays
show that your bones have healed. Full weight bearing
may not occur for two or three months. However, you
should begin moving around with the aid of crutches
as soon as possible. Water therapy can be very beneficial
when recovering from stress fractures. Rehab progresses
to resistive exercises – those involving weights
– to keep the muscles around your hip strong.
Patients under age 65 should be able to return to sports
and activities at full strength in six weeks to three
months. Patients over age 65 may have more difficulty
returning to activities and restoring full health to
their hips after a stress fracture. Your physician may
recommend that you avoid repetitive stress activities
like long distance running.
Once your hip stress fracture has
healed, building muscle strength around your hip can
help you avoid further injury. You also may consider
training with a physical therapist or coach to increase
your balance and coordination, which can help decrease
the chances of accidental falls. If your physician feels
you are at risk for future femoral neck fractures, you
may be instructed to cut back or avoid repetitive stress
activities like long distance running. Physicians generally
recommend cross–training after a stress fracture
to avoid putting the same type of stress on your hips
every day. You should alternate your running workouts
with cycling, swimming, or other cardiovascular activities.
Slowly increase the intensity and duration of your workouts.
Try to avoid drastic increases in your athletic activities.
Another way to help prevent further hip injuries is
to learn to avoid stressing your hip during daily activities.
After a hip stress fracture, take it easy on your hips
during the day whenever possible to save them for activities
and exercise. Avoid stairs when there is an elevator,
take the shortest path when walking, and consider wearing
athletic shoes designed to absorb shock. In general,
you should avoid participating in activities in old,
worn–out shoes. Running shoes typically wear out
after 250 to 300 miles of running. Running on softer
surfaces, like grass or cushioned tracks, may also decrease
your risk or recurring hip stress fractures. If your
stress fracture was caused by anatomical problems, like
differences in your leg length or twisting in your shinbone,
your physician may prescribe orthotic devices to wear
in your shoes. Orthotics can help properly transfer
weight through your hips and provide you with a more