A fractured acetabulum is almost always painful. The pain is worsened with movement. If nerve damage has occurred with the injury, the patient may feel numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation down the leg.
An acetabular fracture results when a force drives the head of the femur against the acetabulum. This force can be transmitted from the knee (such as hitting the knee against the dashboard in a head-on car collision) or from the side (such as falling off a ladder directly onto the hip). Depending upon the direction of the force, the head of the femur is sometimes pushed out of the hip socket, an injury called hip dislocation.
When the fracture is caused by high-energy impact, patients often experience extensive bleeding and have other serious injuries that require urgent attention.
Acetabular fractures are sometimes caused by weak or insufficient bone. This is most common in older patients whose bones have become weakened by osteoporosis. Although these patients do not often have other injuries, they may have complicating medical problems, such as heart disease or diabetes.
More about Treatment
An acetabular fracture is a break in the socket portion of the "ball-and-socket" hip joint. These hip socket fractures are not common they occur much less frequently than fractures of the upper femur or femoral head (the "ball" portion of the joint).
The majority of acetabular fractures are caused by some type of high-energy event, such as a car collision. Many times patients will have additional injuries that require immediate treatment.
In a smaller number of cases, a low-energy incident, such as a fall from standing, may cause an acetabular fracture in an older person who has weaker bones.
Treatment for acetabular fractures often involves surgery to restore the normal anatomy of the hip and stabilize the hip joint.