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Thigh Bone Fractures and Treatment

Even the femur, the strongest bone in the body is susceptible to fractures. High impact collisions often result in femur fractures. Ageing and medical conditions are also responsible as they tend to weaken the bones making them vulnerable to fractures. In such cases, even a minor fall may cause a femur fracture.

Types of Femur Fractures

We got more information on the subject from a highly experienced orthopaedic surgeon – Dr Vijay Kumar Sohanlal. He’s a senior specialist in joint replacement and orthopaedics at MGM healthcare and Mahi Clinic – Chennai. He informed us that there are several types of femur fractures that depend on the type of injury and the part of the femur involved.

Proximal fractures, femoral shaft fractures and supracondylar fractures refer to fractures occurring in the hip area, middle and near the knee respectively. Usually, the femoral shaft fractures are the severe ones.

Stress Fracture

This type of fracture is most common during sports. Due to overuse or impact during an activity, the femur may develop a small crack.  

Severe Fractures

Fractures in high impact road accidents can break the femur into several pieces. This is called a comminuted fracture. Sometimes the broken bone can tear through flesh resulting in an open wound. This kind of fracture is known as an open or compound fracture.

When the impact is perpendicular to the bone, the fracture is like a straight line along the long axis. This is known as a transverse fracture. When the fracture is at an angle to the femur shaft it’s called an oblique fracture.

Partial Fracture

As the term suggests, it’s a partial fracture when the bone is not broken completely. Unlike a complete fracture, the bone just cracks instead of breaking apart.  

Complete Displaced Fracture

When the displacement of the broken parts of the bone is considerable and no longer aligned, it’s a complete displaced fracture. Spiral fracture falls in this category. It may occur due to a twisting force, in which case the bone breaks into two parts. The fracture is at an angle such that the parts don’t align.

Symptoms

The symptoms depend on the type of fracture but usually include excruciating pain, swelling and limited movement. The injured leg may not be able to bear body weight. In severe cases, the leg may be deformed or the skin ruptured by the bone.    

Diagnosis

The doctor does a physical examination of the patient along with an assessment of the vitals. The patient is stabilised and imaging tests like X-ray, MRI, CAT Scan are done. The medical history of the patient is evaluated to understand other conditions or an underlying cause.

An orthopaedic specialist must be consulted immediately as a thighbone fracture can be critical. Urgent medical intervention is required to prevent further harm to the area.

Treatment

In case of minor fractures, the doctor holds the bone in place with a cast. Anti-inflammatory medicine is prescribed to subside the pain and swelling. In partial fractures, the bone is realigned and held in place with a cast. Traction splinting is used if the fracture is in the middle of the thighbone.  

Surgery may be required in severe cases and the fracture must be fixed as soon as possible. Depending on the condition, one or more of the devices like a metal rod, plates, screws may be required to restore the femur.       

Physical therapy is also recommended to help the patient gain muscle strength and proper mobility.

Prevention

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet keeps your body in shape. Toned muscles and strong bones will be instrumental in preventing fractures due to structural deficiencies. Wear the right shoes and maintain proper eyesight to minimize the risk of falling. Accidents may not be entirely in our control but it’s best to take precautions.

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