Broken Hip Joint

Fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum are serious injuries that can lead to multiple long-term health challenges if not treated properly.

Your pelvis consists of a sturdy ring structure located at the base of your spine. It includes a large, triangular-shaped bone called the sacrum, your tailbone and hip bones. Each hip bone contains three bones that join together to form your acetabulum and create a socket for your hip joint.

There are two types of pelvis fracture:

  • A stable fracture consists of one break in your pelvic ring, in which the ends of your broken bones line up correctly
  • An unstable fracture consists of two or more breaks in your pelvic ring, in which the ends of your broken bones do not line up correctly

Fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum often result from a traumatic event like a car accident or a fall from significant height. They may also be caused by weak or insufficient bone mass due to osteoporosis or advanced age.

Symptoms, Diagnosis and Outlook

A fractured pelvis or acetabulum typically causes intense hip pain that worsens with movement. Other symptoms may include:

  • Leg pain
  • Groin pain
  • Weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation in your leg

To diagnose a pelvis or acetabulum fracture, the orthopaedic specialists at Penn State Health take a full medical history and perform a detailed physical exam to assess your level of damage.

Additional testing may include:

  • X-ray
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan

Stable fractures of the pelvis and acetabulum are most likely to heal properly with no lasting effects. Unstable fractures are often caused by traumatic events, like a car accident, and may require extensive healing time followed by rehabilitation and therapy. Healing may take a year or longer before strength and function are restored.

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Why Choose Penn State Health for Care

Top-Ranked by U.S. News & World Report

Penn State Health includes the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, ranked as one of the best orthopedic providers in the country by U.S. News & World Report. This honor was earned because our doctors consistently deliver exceptional patient care and outcomes through their commitment to advanced treatments, translational research and provider training.

Coordinated, Specialized Care Through a Dedicated Institute

Our orthopaedic specialists work together through our dedicated Penn State Bone and Joint Institute. There, they focus on providing you with multidisciplinary, tailored care and state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. This produces the highest-quality patient outcomes. All physicians at the institute are fellowship-trained and subspecialize in additional niche areas of orthopaedics, including arthritis care and joint arthroplasty (joint replacement surgery).

Designated as a Blue Distinction® Center

Penn State Bone and Joint Institute is a Blue Distinction Center for Knee and Hip Replacement. This superior designation from BlueCross BlueShield is only given to health care facilities and providers that stand out for their expertise in delivering specialty knee and hip replacement care. Our surgeons specialize in a range of pain-relieving procedures, including partial knee replacement, total joint arthroplasty, joint preservation surgery and complex revision surgery. They perform more than 1,000 joint replacement procedures every year.

Confidence in Treatment Through Education

We developed a special joint replacement education website just for patients undergoing joint arthroplasty. The website takes you step by step through the joint replacement process. From things to consider before choosing surgery to recovery after surgery, you’ll find the information you need to help you feel confident in your decision to undergo joint replacement.

Advancing Orthopaedic Medicine Through Research

The doctors and researchers in our Center for Orthopaedic Research and Translational Science at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center are committed to advancing our field through scientific discovery and education. As the only academic medical center in central Pennsylvania, Hershey Medical Center is a national leader in research, in partnership with Penn State College of Medicine, and on the leading edge of new treatment options, including clinical trials.

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