Have you suffered a fracture of the acetabulum due to a work accident? Unfortunately, you know firsthand how painful this type of injury can be. 

The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The upper end of the thigh bone, or femur, meets the socket part, which is lined with smooth cartilage. This socket part is called the acetabulum, and is part of the pelvis.

An acetabular fracture happens when the socket of the hip joint is broken. This is not a common injury. It is much more common for the top of the femur to be fractured. Very rarely are both the thigh bone and socket damaged in an injury.

What typically causes an acetabular fracture? A high-energy trauma, or in other words, a swift blow to the side or front of the knee, usually from an automobile accident or a feet-first fall. In older individuals, or those who have osteoporosis, a simple fall can cause an acetabular fracture. For Illinois workers we see these injuries a lot when people fall off of scaffolds or ladders.

Acetabular fractures usually cause hip pain, but they may also produce pain in the groin and leg. A person might be able to put weight on it, but it will likely be painful.

To diagnose an acetabular fracture, a physician will take a full medical history of the patient, perform a physical exam, and order X-rays or a CT scan to see the extent of the fracture.

If the doctor sees extensive damage to the cartilage in the joint or a high degree of instability in the hip, he/she may recommend surgery. The surgeon would remove bone debris from the joint and align the surface of the cartilage so the ball is held securely within the socket of the joint.

After surgery, patients must stay off of their affected leg for up to three months. If a patient walks on the leg too soon, he/she risks displacing the joint again. Rehabilitation is required after surgery.

If you were involved in a vehicular collision while on the job, or if you had a feet-first fall at work, and you have an acetabulum fracture, reach out to us. We are experienced Illinois workers’ compensation attorneys and our state-wide network of like-minded lawyers can protect you.  Call us at 888-705-1766 for a free consultation any time.