A hip fracture is a serious injury. Although the fracture itself is treatable, complications can be life-threatening. If you also have an illness that makes it unsafe to undergo surgery to repair your broken hip, your doctor may use a tension system (traction) to allow your hip to heal.
The most significant risk of traction is that it may lead to muscle deterioration and weakness, increasing the likelihood of permanent loss of mobility. In addition, traction keeps you immobile for a long period, during which time you can develop blood clots in the veins of your legs.
You can also develop a blood clot after hip surgery if you don't get up and move around very much. It's possible for a blood clot to become lodged in a pulmonary artery, blocking blood flow to lung tissue. This condition, called pulmonary embolism, can be fatal.
Risks of traction and being immobile include:
- Blood clots
- Urinary tract infection
- Muscle wasting
Additionally, people who've had one hip fracture have a significantly increased risk of having another one.