(Femur Fracture; Thigh Bone Fracture; Broken Leg)
by Mary Calvagna, MS
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.
A femoral fracture is usually caused by direct trauma to your femur. Trauma includes:
Risk Factors TOP
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a femoral fracture. Tell your doctor if you have any of these risk factors:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, physical activity, and how the injury happened. The injured area will also be examined. You may have x-rays to look for a break in the bone.
Treatment will depend on the location and severity of your injury. Treatment involves:
Devices that may be used to hold the bone in place while it heals include:
Your doctor will order additional x-rays while the bone heals. This is to ensure that the bones have not shifted position.
Once home, follow your doctor's discharge instructions.
When your doctor decides you are ready, you will start range-of-motion and strengthening exercises. You may be referred to a physical therapist to assist you. Do not return to sports until your leg is fully healed and your thigh muscle strength is back to normal.
A fractured femur is a serious injury that takes 3-6 months to heal.
To help prevent femoral fractures:
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Broken leg. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/broken-leg/DS00978. Updated July 2009. Accessed July 21, 2009.
Cummings-Vaughn LA, Gammack JK. Falls, osteoporosis, and hip fractures. MedClin North Am. 2011 May;95(3):495-506.
Osteoporosis and fracture: preventing falls and related fractures. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.n.... Updated August 2005. Accessed June 18, 2008.
Thighbone (femur) fracture. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00364. Updated August 2007. Accessed June 18, 2008.
Last reviewed September 2012 by John C. Keel, MD
Last Updated: 09/28/2012