The Various Types Of Broken Femur
Treatment and recovery from a broken femur can vary widely, depending not only on the location and nature of the fracture, but also on the age of the person involved. In most cases of a broken femur, surgery is required. For the very young however, a cast may suffice, and in infants, a cast may not even be needed unless the fracture is quite severe. In the case of adults, surgery is nearly always required, and in the case of the elderly, a broken femur is often due to weakened bones. It is usually called a hip fracture, which can on occasion have unpleasant consequences.
The femur, also called the thigh bone, is a very large and thick bone, as one might expect a bone in the upper leg would have to be. The femur is in fact the thickest and strongest bone in the body. It is not easily broken, but when it is, treatment and recovery can at times be difficult. Whereas a broken arm is usually set in a cast, as is a broken bone in the lower leg, repairing a broken femur more often than not requires surgery during which steel rods, plates, and/or screws have to be inserted. Not only is a broken femur painful but unlike many other types of bone fractures, there may also be a significant amount of pain experienced during the initial stages of recovery.
Since it takes a very strong force to break the thigh bone, a broken femur is most often the result of a hard fall or an automobile accident. A broken leg suffered during skiing typically involves the lower leg or the ankle, though a downhill racer hitting a tree could possibly fracture the femur. On the other hand, elderly people sometimes will fracture the femur by simply falling down. This is usually the result of the bone being weakened by osteoporosis, a condition fairly common among the elderly, and especially common among elderly women.
A Hip Fracture Is A Femur Fracture - When a fracture of the femur occurs in an elderly person, it is usually called a hip fracture. That is because the location of the fracture generally occurs at the junction of the upper end of the femur and its socket in the pelvis. It's rarely the pelvis which fractures however, and almost always the femur. The fracture can occur in the rounded end of the femur where it fits into the hip socket, or in the neck of the femur, which runs in more of a horizontal than vertical direction, or at a slightly lower location in the thigh bone.
Very often when the elderly suffer from such a fracture conventional wisdom dictates it will be all downhill from that point on. There is some truth to this, although the majority of those suffering from the injury will recover. A quarter of them do not, however, or do not recover enough to be able to live independently. If the person involved is already in poor health, a broken hip can indeed be the start of a downhill slide.
Hip, Shaft, And Knee - When younger people suffer hip fractures, usually as the result of an accident, but occasionally the due to a bone tumor or infection, it is called a proximal femur fracture. Most commonly, a femur fracture involves the shaft of the femur. Such fractures tend to be serious and require surgery, and the insertion of a rod, called an itramedullary rod, which becomes a permanent fixture. If the fracture occurs in the vicinity of the knee joint, it is referred to as a supracondylar fracture, which may also involve the cartilage in the knee joint. This is also a serious fracture, but fortunately is the rarest type of a broken femur one is apt to suffer.