Thighbone Femur Fracture

Article by Dr. Darren R Keiser MD

Your thighbone (femur) is the longest and strongest bone in your body. Because the femur is so strong, it usually takes a lot of force to break it. Car crashes, for example, are the number one cause of femur fractures. The long, straight part of the femur is called the femoral shaft. When there is a break anywhere along this length of bone, it is called a femoral shaft fracture.

Cause

Femoral shaft fractures in young people are frequently due to some type of high-energy collision. The most common cause of femoral shaft fracture is a motor vehicle or motorcycle crash. Being hit by a car as a pedestrian is another common cause, as are falls from heights and gunshot wounds. A lower-force incident, such as a fall from standing, may cause a femoral shaft fracture in an older person who has weaker bones.

Recovery

Most femoral shaft fractures take 4 to 6 months to completely heal. Some take even longer, especially if the fracture was open or broken into several pieces.

Weightbearing
Many doctors encourage leg motion early in the recovery period. It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions for putting weight on your injured leg to avoid problems.

In some cases, doctors will allow patients to put as much weight as possible on the leg right after surgery. However, you may not be able to put full weight on your leg until the fracture has started to heal. It is very important to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

When you begin walking, you will most likely need to use crutches or a walker for support.

Physical Therapy
Because you will most likely lose muscle strength in the injured area, exercises during the healing process are important. Physical therapy will help to restore normal muscle strength, joint motion, and flexibility.

A physical therapist will most likely begin teaching you specific exercises while you are still in the hospital. The therapist will also help you learn how to use crutches or a walker.

**Call the office of Dr. Darren Keiser to set up an appointment

Article URL: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00521&webid=2FDDE053