Your thighbone, called your femur, is the largest and strongest bone in your body. A fractured femur is an extremely serious injury, and can be life-threatening. Broken femurs require immediate medical treatment.Causes of Femur Fractures
Because the femur is so strong, breaking it requires an abundance of force, usually from some type of high-energy collision. The most common cause of a fractured femur is a car accident or motorcycle accident. In fact, almost 90% of adolescent femur fractures are caused in motor vehicle accidents where the adolescent is either in a car, on a bicycle, or hit as a pedestrian.Types of Femur Fractures
The femur may break in several different ways, usually depending on the type and amount of force that caused the fracture. Common types of femur fractures include:
- Transverse fractures, where the break is a straight, horizontal line across the femur bone.
- Obligue fractures, where the fracture cuts at an angle across the bone.
- Spiral fractures, where the fracture line circles around the bone like candy cane stripes. This type of fracture is usually caused by a twisting force.
- Comminuted fractures, where the bone has broken into three or more pieces.
- Open fractures, where the bone breaks in such a way that parts of it break through the skin. These types of fractures have a high risk of complication, especially infections, and often take a longer time to heal than other femur fractures.
If you break your femur, you will almost always feel immediate, severe pain. The injured leg will not be able to bear weight, and it may take on a visible deformity such as being shorter than the other leg or not looking straight.Treatment of Femur Fractures
For very young children, femur fractures may be treated through casting rather than surgery. The rate of pediatric femur fractures being treated through surgery is increasing, however, as doctors recognize that surgery may lead to faster rehabilitation and mobilization.
The vast majority of adult femur fractures are treated with surgery. If the fracture is open, surgery will probably take place immediately, but if the area is closed, the doctor may wait to do surgery until you are more stable. During surgery, the doctor can insert plates and screws to hold the bone in its correct position, but the most common method used is intramedullary nailing. Intramedullary nailing involves the insertion of a specially designed metal rod into the bone marrow canal of the femur to keep the femur in the correct position as it heals.
After surgery, you will likely need crutches or a walker to become mobile. You will also need physical therapy to help regain muscle strength and range of motion. Fractured femurs typically take four to six months to heal, and potentially longer if the fracture was open or involved multiple breakages.
If you have been in an accident and suffered a fractured femur, you already understand the severity of this injury. But, if you would like to talk with us about a potential fractured femur case, contact us online or call us at 615-742-4880 or 866.812.8787 for a free, no-obligation consultation. For more information on our fees and how we handle case expenses, click here.