Femur Fracture (Acute)

Femur fracture

A Femur fracture is a rare, but very serious injury caused by sudden, severe trauma. If you suspect a fracture seek emergency medical attention immediately. Here we explain treatment and recovery from a broken thigh bone.

Signs & symptoms

  • The patient will feel severe pain in the thigh.
  • There may be deformity in the thigh for, example, the leg may be at an angle or the injured leg appearing shorter than the other.
  • A considerable amount of swelling may be visible and the patient will be unable to move their leg.
  • It is important to look out for signs of injury to other structures, such as blood vessels and nerves. These include immediate bruising, a cold or pale lower leg or foot which might indicate restricted circulation.
  • Tingling or numbness in the lower leg or foot could indicate nerve damage.

What causes a broken femur?

Traumatic femur fractures occur from one specific force. It takes a lot of force to break the femur as it is a very strong, thick bone. For this reason, fractures of the femur are most frequently seen in road traffic accidents and falls from a great height. They are not frequently seen in sports.

They may occasionally be seen in the elderly, especially those affected by Osteoporosis. Due to the amount of force required, a broken thigh bone may be associated with other injuries or complications and should be thoroughly assessed.

Femur fracture treatment

The type of treatment received depends on the extent of the damage and the age of the patient.

  • In young children, casting the leg to immobilize it may be sufficient.
  • In adults and adolescents, casting is not usually recommended unless the leg is placed in traction.

Due to the length of hospital stay required for this form of treatment, as well as early mobilisation, improving healing time and reducing complications, this form of treatment is rarely used. Surgical fixation tends to be used most frequently. This may involve pinning or plating the two sections of bone together to aid healing and ensure alignment. Once the bone is healed, the plate or pins are usually removed.

Recovery time

  • Generally, a thigh bone fracture will take 3-6 months to heal completely.
  • A thorough rehabilitation program should be undertaken to regain full movement, strength, and balance.
This article has been written with reference to the bibliography.
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