What are femoral fractures?

Femoral fractures happen when the bone receives enough force to snap or twist it. This can happen during a fall, from a direct blow, or another kind of trauma, such as a car or motorcycle accident – the most common cause of femoral fractures.

Some diseases, like osteoporosis, can weaken the bones so that they break more easily under force. Osteoporosis is most common in older women.

The severity of a fracture usually depends on 3 things:

  • Where on the bone the fracture is located
  • What the fracture looks like (the pattern)
  • Whether or not the skin and other tissues were injured

Another injury that’s related to a femoral fracture, and may happen at the same time, is an intertrochanteric fracture. An intertrochanteric fracture is a break in the top part of femur. It is also sometimes called a hip fracture. Since the thigh connects to the hip, these injuries often occur at the same time

Symptoms

Some symptoms of a femoral fracture can include:

  • Intense pain in the area where the fracture occurs
  • Having a hard time moving your leg
  • Swelling
  • The leg is bent at the wrong angle, or appears shorter than the other leg
  • Bruising

When to See a Doctor

Femoral fractures are a serious injury and need to be treated quickly or the leg may not heal properly. If you suspect you have a fractured femur, seek medical help right away, especially if the skin is broken.

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Causes

Femoral fractures are usually caused by:

  • Falls or impacts during activity
  • Direct trauma to the thigh or hip, as in a motorcycle or car accident
  • Diseases that weaken the bone—diseases that could increase the chance for a fracture include osteoporosis and cancer

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