The nurse is assessing an elderly patient suspected of having a fractured left hip after falling onto the ground. The nurse would expect to note which of the following?

The left hip has severe pain.
The left leg is externally rotated.
The left leg is shorter than the right.

Explanation

•This incidence of hip fracture increases with age, and most are caused by falls. In these cases, patients typically present with severe hip pain with localized tenderness, limited range of motion with passive rotation and flexion, and an inability to walk. Hip fractures are medical emergencies because all fractures disrupt blood supply to the bone. 

•The common presentation from an impact hip fracture includes a shorter and externally rotated  affected leg.  The clinical presentation can vary depending on the location of the fracture and whether of not the affected hip is dislocated. 

•An abductor pillow or splint may be ordered to prevent disarticulation of the femur and sandbags may be used to support the affected leg and prevent external rotation.

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