Conditions & Treatments

Femur Fracture

A broken thighbone (femur) tends to occur only with great trauma, often accompanied by lifethreatening injury. In small children, it is often a sign of physical abuse. Such a fracture is readily obvious, as the affected leg cannot be moved and is very painful. The leg may be shorter than the uninjured one, and significant blood loss and bruising may occur. Your physician will likely obtain X-rays to check the extent of the damage.

Therapy relies on realigning and immobilizing the broken bone. Young children may be treated with a cast. In others, traction has long been the traditional treatment, but surgical options are now more often used. Usually a plate, pin, or rod is employed to hold the bone pieces in place. Healing often takes 3 to 6 months, and convalescent individuals should note carefully any changes to their condition.