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The femur or thigh bone is the longest bone in the human body which begins near the hip and extends straight to the knee. A break/crack or displacement along the straight part of the femur (known as femoral shaft) is termed as Femoral Fracture. The injury can be classified into:

Displaced Fracture – It involves change in alignment of a part of the bone

Open Fracture – A bone may break and protrude out of the skin. Such fractures may cause damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments, tendons etc. and can also lead to infections

Closed Fracture – It involves breaking of the femur into one or more pieces but the skin is not damaged

Causes

  • Direct hit/trauma or fall on the extended leg
  • Automobile accident
  • Bullet wound from a gunshot
  • Loss of bone density with age or due to malnutrition
  • Underlying bone condition such as Osteoporosis may render the femur prone to fractures

Symptoms

  • Severe pain Inability to stand or bear body weight
  • Visible deformity in the inured leg which may lead to apparent change in limb length
  • Redness, bleeding, swelling and tenderness at the point of injury
  • Bone pieces may be seen protruding out of the skin in case of severe injuries

Diagnosis

  • Physical examination of the injured leg may be done by the orthopedic doctor to check for bruises, redness, swelling, or loss of motion
  • Analysis of the patient’s medical history and cause of injury
  • X-ray imaging may be required to view the damaged bone and assess the type of fracture that has occurred
  • CT scan helps in obtaining a cross-sectional view of the leg and may also be required in case the fracture occurs as a thin line across the femur

Treatment

  • Most of the femoral fractures need surgical intervention. Only young children may be treated by using a leg cast
  • In case of open fractures, the wound or cut on the skin is cleansed and allowed to heal before surgery
  • Skeletal traction – It is a kind of pulley system with weights that holds the leg straight and keep the broken pieces of bones in place. It also provides relief from pain.
  • External fixation – the bone is attached to pins and screws to keep it stable. However, this is a temporary treatment and is used if the patient is not in a situation to undergo surgery immediately.
  • Surgical induction of a metal rod in the narrow cavity within the femur to keep it stable. It is inserted either by making a small incision through the hip or the knee joint
  • Metal plates and screws are used to position the femur in case the fracture extends to the hip/knee joint and metal rods cannot be inserted
  • Physical therapy is important during the recovery period to restore strength and mobility The doctor may administer antibiotics in case bone infection develops