The femur is the longest bone in our body and also one of the strongest. It takes considerable forces to break. Fractures of the femur can occur anywhere along the bone.
Femoral Shaft Fractures
These fractures occur below the hip joint and can be classified by their location in the shaft: proximal, middle and distal. The fracture can also be classified in the pattern: transverse, oblique, comminuted and open.
A transverse fracture is a straight horizontal fracture across the femoral shaft.
Oblique Fractures are angled across the fracture line.
Comminuted fractures have more then 3 fragments.
An Open fracture causes the bone to break the skin. It was formally known as a compound fracture. but today it is called an open fracture. These fractures can have complications depending on their severity.
Most femur fractures require surgical intervention as they are not usually suitable for casting except in young children.
The intramedullary nail is usually the best option for surgical stabilization. It provides internal stabilization and with the newer techniques it can often be done with minimal surgical dissection. The nail is inserted directly into the canal or central portion of the femur and stabilized proximally and distally wit h locking screws.
Patients are usually encouraged to get out of bed the next day. Depending on the fracture will determine how much weight can be put on the injured extremity. Most patients use crutches or a walker for support and start physical therapy right away. These fractures usually heal in 4 to 6 months.