The femur, the longest and strongest bone in the human body, is quite hard to break. Unless your bone has been weakened (most commonly the result of osteoporosis, medication side effects or cancer), it takes quite a lot of force to sustain a femur fracture. Since this bone is so strong, a femur fracture is not an injury associated with athletes, as many other injuries are. Automobile crashes, not surprisingly, are the top cause of femur fractures. However, in children four and under, a fractured femur is considered a red flag for child abuse. The femur extends from the pelvis, which it articulates with in a “ball-and-socket” joint, to the tibia (the shinbone).
Since femur fractures tend to be the result of severe traumas, such as those sustained in a car accident or in a fall from a great height, they are generally accompanied by other injuries. If the femur fracture is located at the femoral neck, femoral head or between the greater and lesser trochanter, it may be considered a broken hip. This is especially the case if the person who has suffered the broken bone is also suffering from osteoporosis (a bone-weakening condition associated with older people, especially women).
Anatomy of the Thigh
The thigh contains the body’s longest bone in the body – the femur, which articulates with the body’s most massive joint (the knee). This area of the body consists of the following:
Types of Femur Fractures
Femur Fractures can be divided into three main types:
Causes of Femur Fractures
A femur fracture is generally the result of an intense blow. If the femur is compromised for some reason, such a fracture can be caused by milder injuries. The following are the most common causes of femur fractures:
Symptoms of Femur Fractures
Different types of femur fractures have different symptoms. If you have suffered a proximal femur fracture, your will feel intense pain in your hip and groin, your leg will lose mobility and it will bruise, swell and stiffen. If you have suffered a femoral shaft fracture, your leg will be in intense pain; you will not be able to put weight on it; and there is a chance it will appear crooked and shorter than the non-injured leg. If you have suffered a supracondylar femur fracture, you will feel intense knee pain; your knee will swell and bruise; and the joint will lock and “pop.”
The following are common femur fracture symptoms:
The symptoms of femur fractures may be mistaken for the symptoms of other medical conditions (patella fracture, dislocated fibula head, etc.). Make sure you consult a doctor in order to determine if you have a femur fracture and get the appropriate treatment.
The multidisciplinary team of orthopaedic experts at North Shore-LIJ Orthopaedic Institute's Trauma Services in New York treats Femur Fractures as well as a broad range of conditions that affect the bones within the body.