A femoral fracture is a break, crack or crush injury of the thigh bone, called the femur. The femur can be fractured in three areas: the head/neck of the bone (the upper end, near the pelvis), the main shaft of the bone, or the lower end near the knee. These fractures can range from small cracks to a full break that causes the bone to separate.
Femoral fractures include:
- Fractures of the femoral neck – far more common in the elderly.
- Fractures of the femoral shaft and supracondylar fractures – usually caused by violent trauma, and most often occur in adolescents and young adults.
- Femoral stress fractures – partial-thickness fractures, most commonly affecting the femoral neck. These are chronic overuse injuries and tend to be seen in those who take part in physical activity. They may progress to full fractures.
Causes of Femoral Fractures
The most common causes of femur fracture are:
- High-speed trauma, such as a motor vehicle or motorcycle accident, a fall from a high place, or an injury during extreme or contact sports
- A pre-existing bone disease that weakens the bone, such as a tumor, Paget disease, bone cysts or osteoporosis
Symptoms of Femoral Fractures
Symptoms of a fractured femur can include severe pain, bleeding, deformity of the leg, tissue swelling, and being unable to move the leg. Blood loss can be severe and may lead to hypovolemic shock. In some cases, bone fragments may protrude from the skin. Fractures of the femur are commonly associated with traumatic circumstances that may result in injuries to other areas of the body as well.