Femur fractures are very prevalent today, especially during car accidents. For example, recently on the news, a young man named Wesley Brown was fleeing from Florida police and crashed his stolen car into another car. As a result, Brown suffered a broken femur or thighbone.
This type of injury is more specifically called a femoral shaft fracture. The femoral shaft is the bone that runs from below the hips to the knees. Because femoral fractures require so much force, they are caused by high-energy collisions, such as car or motorcycle accidents. Other causes include jumping from tall heights or getting shot. Older people and infants are more vulnerable to lower-force accidents such as falling down because their bones are weaker and not fully developed, respectively. The most common cause of femur fractures in infants is child abuse.
Image Source: RAUL ARBOLEDA
There are many different types of femur fractures, and they depend on the amount of force causing the injury. Doctors classify femur fractures based on their location, pattern, and whether or not the bone tore the skin. The different types of fractures include transverse, oblique, spiral, comminuted, and open fractures. Femoral shaft fractures result in immediate and serious pain. You will not be able to walk or put any weight on your leg. Often times, your leg will look deformed with bones penetrating the skin or unusual twisting of the leg.
Before treatment is possible, doctors must analyze the severity of the fracture using X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans, which offer more detailed pictures than X-rays. Oftentimes, treatment will involve surgery. In the time between the injury and surgery, your leg can be stabilized with a splint or skeletal traction. The goal of a skeletal traction, which is a pulley system, is to keep your broken bones together and alleviate pain. The three types of surgery are external fixation, intramedullary nailing, plates and screws; the main goal is to insert metal pins or screws into the femur to stabilize it and facilitate healing.
Most femoral fractures take four to six months to recover. Doctors recommend constant leg motion throughout recovery. Because you won’t be able to put full weight on your leg, you will lose muscle strength and physical therapy will be required. This involves performing exercises to help improve joint motion and flexibility.
The bottom line is that femoral shaft fractures occur in rare instances from high-impact accidents. Even though the road to recovery is long and grueling, stay strong and hopeful that you’ll walk again.
Feature Image Source: Broken Femur by 4x4king10