What is a fractured femur?

A fractured femur is a breakage in the thigh bone (femur), the longest, strongest and heaviest bone in the human body. The strength and size of the femur means that under typical circumstances, a large force or extensive trauma is needed in order to result in a fracture. Motor vehicle accidents and falls are examples of common accidents that result in a fractured femur. Conversely, femur fractures that occur after low-energy trauma suggest the presence of some type of underlying bone condition. A fractured femur in a child may be a sign of child abuse.

Symptoms of a fractured femur can include severe pain, bleeding, deformity of the leg, tissue swelling, and being unable to move your leg. Blood loss can be severe and may lead to hypovolemic shock. In some cases, bone fragments may protrude from the skin. Fractures of the femur are commonly associated with traumatic circumstances that may result in injuries to other areas of the body as well.

Treatment of a broken femur involves restoration of the normal anatomical position of the bone fragments, referred to as reduction of the fracture. The exact methods used for treatment depend upon the individual situation and must take into account the extent and nature of the break as well as the treatment of any other injuries. Both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options may be considered.

A fractured femur is an emergency situation. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as trauma followed by the inability to move your leg, severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or deformity.


SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of a fractured femur?

Symptoms of a fractured femur are primarily localized to the area of the thigh. If other injuries or severe bleeding are associated with the fracture, these conditions may also produce symptoms, some of which may be life threatening.

Common symptoms of a fractured femur

Typically, a fractured femur results in intense pain, deformity, and inability to move the leg. Commo... Read more about fractured femursymptoms

CAUSES

What causes a fractured femur?

Accidents are the most common cause of fractured femur. A relatively strong force is required to break this sturdy bone in otherwise healthy individuals, so motor vehicle accidents and high impact falls are among the most common causes. The fracture can occur anywhere along the bone. Most ‘hip fractures’ are actually fractures of the neck of the femur. Certain conditions, such as osteoporosis o... Read more about fractured femurcauses

TREATMENTS

How is a fractured femur treated?

Treatments for a fractured femur are based upon realignment of the fragments of the broken bone so that healing can take place. In some cases, dependent upon the location and extent of the fracture as well as the presence of associated injuries, surgical implantation of plates, rods, or screws may be necessary to help hold the bone fragments in place. Casting and traction are also common treatm... Read more about fractured femurtreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Bones, Joints and Muscles


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