A Broken Femur Guide

A broken femur is a very serious injury, the broken femur pain scale is quite high, and a broken femur in elderly people over 65 years of age has a very high mortality rate due to the shock and trauma of the injury. This short guide gives information about broken femur injuries, how they are caused, what the symptoms are, and the treatment that is administered to heal them.

Selection a Section:

What is a Broken Femur?

Your femur, or thighbone as we most usually call it, is the strongest bone in your body. It takes significant force to actually break a femur. Serious fractures of the femur such as a fracture of femur neck can take 6 months or longer to heal completely and recover from, even longer for elderly people.

Broken Femur Key Facts

If you were to view a selection of broken femur pictures you would find that there are actually several different types of fractures that can affect the thighbone, and these are:

  • Undisplaced – the most minor of all thighbone fractures, where the bone has broken cleanly and the two parts still line up, and there has been little or no damage to the surrounding tissue.
  • Displaced – more severe that an undisplaced fracture, where the two parts of the bone no longer line up. Treating a broken femur with a displaced fracture will almost always require surgery.
  • Comminuted – more serious still, a comminuted fracture describes an injury where the femur has been shattered into several pieces.
  • Compound – the most serious of all femur fractures, where the bone has actually broken and torn through the tissue and skin of the leg and is poking out.
  • Stress – a minor or headline fracture of the thighbone that has been caused by overuse and overstressing the femur.

A broken femur is a very serious injury, with a broken femur elderly people are especially at risk. The graph below shows that for people over 65, the mortality rate within the first 12 months of recovery is quite high.

Broken Femur Graph

Broken Femur Statistics

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Broken Femur?

A broken femur is a very serious injury, with some types, such as a fracture of femur head being life-threatening, especially in older people. The key symptoms of a broken femur are hard to overlook, and they include:

  • Severe pain – of all fracture injuries, a broken femur is one of the most painful. You will feel a sharp pain even if you jolt your damaged leg, you will not be able to stand on it at all due to the pain.
  • Bruising and swelling – in many cases, you will see a large bruise and some swelling at the point of the break. However, there are not always visible symptoms of a broken femur.
  • Misshapen leg – for severe breaks, the leg may actually be unnaturally bent or twisted at a strange angle.
  • Visible bone – a compound fracture of the femur will have part of the broken bone sticking out through the flesh of the thigh.

These are the main broken femur symptoms and if you exhibit any of them, you must seek medical attention straight away.

What Are the Most Common Causes of a Broken Femur?

As mentioned previously in this guide, the femur is the strongest bone in the human body, it is quite difficult to break. There are three primary ways that a broken femur is caused, and these are:

  • Direct trauma – such as that which can occur in a serious car crash, or when falling from a great height.
  • Stress – hairline fractures of the thighbone are most usually caused by some form of sporting injury, which has overstressed the bone.
  • Osteoporosis – or some other medical condition that has resulted in the sufferer having much weaker bones than normal. This is especially common in older people.

When Should You Seek Medical Care for a Broken Femur?

A fractured thighbone is a serious injury, and one which could leave the sufferer in shock, and unable to identify their own symptoms. If you have suffered any of the symptoms outlined above, then you need femur fracture treatment.

You will need to visit your local Accident and Emergency Department to get treatment. However, you are not going to be able to walk, even with assistance. You may need to call an ambulance so that you can be carried on a stretcher to the hospital.

You need to keep your leg straight whilst travelling to the hospital. This will help reduce the pain. Don’t try moving your leg manually if it looks misshapen. A doctor will need to realign the bones properly.

How to Get a Free Expert Orthopaedic Assessment for Your Broken Bone Report

When you are treated in hospital for a broken thighbone, your doctor will call for a series of x-rays to be taken. These femur fracture pictures are used by your doctor to create a broken bone report for your specific case. This report is used to judge what type of treatment you need, and how it should best be administered.

You can request a copy of this broken bone report to take home. If you do this, then we might be able to help you get a free expert orthopaedic assessment of your fractured femur. This will help you highlight any potential problems with the treatment you are receiving and learn whether there is anything else that can be done to help you reduce your broken femur recovery time.

How is a Broken Femur Diagnosed?

Fractured femur diagnosis is very straightforward. This is such a serious injury that after a short medical examination, a doctor will be fairly certain that you have broken your thighbone. The doctor will then send you for either an x-ray or an MRI scan depending upon which type of fracture they suspect.

  • X-ray – this is a good test for finding serious fractures, such as a broken femur neck. The large break will show up very clearly on an x-ray.
  • MRI scan – if the doctor suspects a hairline or stress fracture which is unlikely to show up on an x-ray, then an MRI scan will be called for.

How is a Broken Femur Treated?

Treatment for a broken femur has two stages before you are sent home to begin your broken femur recovery.

The first stage of treatment is done prior to a full diagnosis being made. Your leg will be immobilised using a splint, and painkillers will be administered, and potentially some additional oxygen via a mask. Once this has been done, the diagnosis will begin.

Once the fracture has been diagnosed, treatment will depend upon the severity of the injury, thus:

  • For simple fractures – the leg will be immobilised using a broken femur cast. You will be instructed how to take care of your injuries at home, and possibly given enough painkillers to last you for the first few days. You will then be discharged from the hospital.
  • For more serious fractures – the break will need reduction. This is the process of realigning the broken bones so that they can begin healing correctly. This will either be done by hand, with a local anaesthetic being administered or through a surgical process, potentially under a general anaesthetic. Internal fixation (screws, pins and plates) will be used to keep the bones in place while they begin to heal. A broken femur cast will be applied, and you will be sent home from the hospital.

What Free Private Treatment Can I Qualify For?

If you were to check out some broken femur recovery stories, you would likely find one common theme; NHS treatment works, but it takes a long time to recover fully from a broken thighbone. This is because NHS treatment for a broken femur is designed to be cheap, not fast. Private medical treatment for a fractured femur would likely get you back on your feet sooner.

You may not realise it, but there may be some offers of free medical treatment for a broken femur that you can claim in your area. If you want to find out if any free private medical aid is available to you, then give us a call, once we know your postcode we can tell you almost immediately if anything is available to you.

Caring for Your Broken Femur at Home

The answer to the question, how long does it take to recover from a broken femur? Depends very much on how well you take care of your injury once you are sent home from the hospital. The tips below will help you do this:

Can you walk on a fractured leg? No, you cannot, you are going to be off your feet for around 6 to 8 weeks. Once your recovery is well underway, your doctor may let you use a wheelchair or a pair of crutches to gain a little more mobility.

Your doctor will tell you how much you can move your leg, and how long you should rest it completely for. Make sure to follow this advice, it is crucial that in the first few weeks, the broken femur is immobile as much as possible.

As you approach the time when your cast will come off, your doctor may suggest some femur strengthening exercises for you to do each day. Make sure you do them, this will speed up your recovery.

Is There Any Other Good Treatment I Can Get for Free?

There may be some form of free private medical help to assist with your broken femur rehabilitation. For example, you might be able to claim a pair of custom fitted crutches or something similar.

Call us today and we can let you know right away whether we think there is any other good free treatment for a broken femur based on your postcode.

Follow Up for a Broken Femur

Once you have been discharged from the hospital and sent home, you will need to make an appointment to see an orthopaedic specialist a week or two later. At this appointment, the doctor will check that your femur has begun to heal and that no complications are evident.

You may have to have several sects of x-rays produced over the following weeks, to make sure the bone is healing properly. You will have to visit the hospital every 2 weeks for up to 6 months.

How Long Does a Broken Femur Take to Heal?

At a basic level, broken femur healing time is 6 to 8 weeks. However, this is only the time that it takes for the bone to physically mend itself. It does not take into consideration the long period of rehabilitation that will follow such a long period of leg inactivity.

When considering broken femur recovery time elderly will take far longer than a younger, healthy person will take to recover. Full recovery for an elderly person can take up to a year or more, whilst younger people generally recover within 6 months.

How Can I Recover Safer and Possibly Faster?

During the healing of your fractured femur, you will have to have your leg immobilised for up to 8 weeks or more. During this time the muscles will waste away and the leg will weaken. A femur fracture physical therapy protocol needs to be followed to get you back up and on your feet 100%.

NHS physiotherapy is fine, but private physiotherapy is much better. We might be able to arrange for you to receive some free private physiotherapy to get you walking after a femur fracture much more rapidly. Call is to find out, we can let you know almost immediately.

What is the Prognosis for a Broken Femur?

The long-term prognosis for a broken femur depends up a) the severity and type of the fracture and b) the age and health of the patient.

Young people, with a minor broken femur how long to heal will be driven by how well they maintain their health while the bone is mending. If they maintain good cardiovascular fitness by exercising their upper body, whilst keeping the leg fairly immobile, a full recovery is usually made within 6 months.

For the elderly or infirm, the prognosis is not so good. In some cases, especially those which see the patient suffering from a compound or open fracture, death is a possibility. Even a slight fracture in the elderly can take a year or more to recover from, and it is unlikely that full mobility will be maintained after rehabilitation.

What are the Possible Complications of a Broken Femur?

A broken femur is a serious, traumatic injury. As with any serious injury, there are some complications that could set in. Broken femur complications include:

  • General infections – especially when surgery has been used to insert internal fixation to keep the bones aligned.
  • Bone infection – again, a side-effect of open surgery, but much more serious. If a course of antibiotics cannot cure the bone infection, further surgery may be required.
  • Compartment syndrome – caused by the swelling and bunching of large muscle groups under a plaster cast. Blood cannot drain away from the area, causing major swelling and extreme pain. Surgery may be needed to relive the pressure.
  • Muscle of nerve damage – leading to loss of functionality in the leg, and potentially loss of feeling as well.

If you are currently recovering from a broken femur, and you think you may have developed one of the above complications, then you must contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Do You Think Your Doctor Might Have Missed Something About Your Injury?

Do you think that some error has been made in your fractured femur treatment? Are you worried that some form of medical malpractice has taken place? If so, you are going to need to learn a lot more about your injury, so that you can make a fully informed judgement. All of the websites below gives far more detailed information on fracted femur injuries than this short guide:

Broken Leg Information – NHS

Fractured Neck of Femur Information – Musgrove Park Hospital

Fractured Femur Patient Information Leaflet – NHS Foundation Trust

Are There Any Long-Term Health Issues Caused by a Broken Femur?

As with any serious injury, there are potential long-term health issues once you have recovered from a fractured thighbone. These include:

Permanent limp – for some people walking after femur fracture recovery is not the same as it was prior to the injury. If the thighbone heals a little crooked, or if there is a slight loss in the length of the bone, then a permanent limp could be caused.

Chronic pain – for some patients, especially the elderly, the pain of a broken femur never goes away entirely once the bone has healed. Quite often this is caused by the internal fixations that were used to pin the bones in place. In some cases, they can be removed, but not always. In these cases, long-term pain management is the only treatment.

Loss of height – if the thighbone was seriously damaged, and has healed but has become shorter, a person might find that they have lost an inch or two in height.

These are the most serious long-term health issues related to a broken femur. If you are worried about others, you should talk the situation over with your doctor or orthopaedic specialist.

Contact Us to Find Out if You Qualify for Free Private Treatment

Have you recently suffered a broken femur? Are you currently in recovery or rehabilitation from this serious injury? If you answered yes to either of those questions, then you need to know that you may be able to claim some free private medical treatment to help you get back on your feet faster. This free private medical care could take many forms, such as:

Free medical supplies such as custom fitted crutches or a wheelchair.

A free expert orthopaedic assessment of the broken bone report for your fractured femur.

Some good free private physiotherapy to help you rehabilitate after your recovery from a fractured femur.

If you want to check just what offer of free private medical treatment for a broken femur is available in your area, then call us right now. Once we know your postcode, we can check to see if any free private medical care is available in your area, and let you know if we think you are eligible to claim it.