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Broken Thigh Bone

Broken Thigh Bone

Definition

A femoral fracture is a break in the thigh bone, which is called the femur. It runs from the hip to the knee. It is the longest and strongest bone in the body. It usually requires a great deal of force to break the femur.

Femoral Fracture
Femur Fracture
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Causes

A femoral fracture is usually caused by direct trauma to the femur. Trauma may be caused by:

  • Car, motorcycle, or pedestrian collisions
  • Falls
  • Blows
  • Severe twists
  • Gunshot wounds

Femoral fractures may also be caused by low-impact trauma or spontaneous breaks from weakened bones.

Risk Factors

Older adults are at increased risk of femoral fracture.

Factors that may increase the risk of femoral fracture include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Certain diseases or conditions that result in bone or mineral loss, such as abnormal or absent menstrual cycles or post- menopause
  • Certain diseases and conditions that weaken bones, such as tumors or cysts
  • Decreased muscle mass
  • Playing certain sports that may result in:
    • Spiral fractures—associated with collisions or falls from sports such as football or skiing
    • Stress fractures—associated with overuse or repetitive motion from sports such as distance running
  • Violence

Symptoms

Femoral fracture may cause:

  • Immediate and severe pain
  • Swelling and bruising around the area of the break
  • Inability to walk or stand and/or limited range of motion of the knee or hip
  • Deformity of the injured leg, such as shortening or abnormal twisting

Stress fractures occur slowly over time with repetitive motion. A dull ache rather than severe pain may be felt when applying weight to the leg. Sometimes pain may be felt in another part of the leg, such as the knee.

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury happened. The injured area will also be examined.

Imaging tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scan
  • MRI

Treatment

Proper treatment can prevent long-term complications or problems with the femur. Treatment will depend on how serious the fracture is, but may include:

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of femoral fractures, take these steps:

  • Do not put yourself at risk for trauma to the bone.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when driving or riding in a car.
  • Do weight-bearing and strengthening exercises regularly to build strong bones.
  • Wear proper padding and safety equipment when participating in sports or activities.

To help reduce falling hazards at work and home, take these steps:

  • Clean spills and slippery areas right away.
  • Remove tripping hazards such as loose cords, rugs, and clutter.
  • Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and shower.
  • Install grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or tub.
  • Put in handrails on both sides of stairways.
  • Walk only in well-lit rooms, stairs, and halls.
  • Keep flashlights on hand in case of a power outage.
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