Hip Pain (cont.)
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When to Seek Medical Care
People often decide to seek care after an injury based upon their ability to stand, bear weight, and walk. If there is a concern that a bone is broken, medical care should be sought in an urgent manner. Since patients with a broken hip tend to have significant pain even with minimal movement, it may be wise to call emergency medical services (usually by calling 911) for help in lifting and transporting the victim.
If the pain is more gradual in onset and does not respond to rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications, it is reasonable to seek help. This is especially true if the hip pain begins to limit the range of motion of the hip or causes limping.
If there is loss of bowel or bladder function, this may signal that the pain is coming from the back and a true emergency called cauda equina syndrome may exist. Medical care should be accessed emergently.
Limping is not normal in infants and children. If the pain and limp are associated with a fever, emergency care should be accessed because of the risk for having a joint space infection. Even if no obvious injury has occurred, it is wise to be evaluated within a day or two if the pain and limp have not resolved.
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