Pediatric Thighbone Fracture
The thighbone (femur) is the largest and strongest bone in the body. It can break when a child experiences a sudden forceful impact.
Cause & Symptoms
The most common cause of thighbone fractures in infants under 1 year old is child abuse, which accounts for approximately 70% of the fractures. Child abuse is also a leading cause of thighbone fracture in children between the ages of 1 and 4 years, but the incidence is much less in this age group.
In adolescents, motor vehicle accidents (either in cars, bicycles, or as a pedestrian) are responsible for the vast majority (up to 90%) of femoral shaft fractures.
Events with the highest risk for pediatric femur fractures include:
Falling hard on the playground
Taking a hit in contact sports
Being in a motor vehicle accident
Femur fractures vary greatly. The pieces of bone may be aligned correctly (straight) or out of alignment (displaced), and the fracture may be closed (skin intact) or open (bone piercing through the skin). An open fracture is rare.
Specifically, thighbone fractures are classified depending on:
Location of Thighbone Fracture on the bone (proximal, middle, or distal third of the bone shaft)
Shape of the fractured ends — bones can break all kinds of ways, such as straight across (transverse), or angled (oblique)
Position of the fractured edges (angulated or displaced)
Number of fractured parts: Two parts or Several fractured parts (comminuted)
A thighbone fracture is a serious injury. It may be obvious that the thighbone is fractured because:
Your child has severe pain
The thigh is noticeably swollen or deformed
Your child is unable to stand or walk, and/or
There is a limited range of motion of the hip or knee allowed by the child because of pain.
Take your child to the emergency room right away if you think he or she has a Thighbone Fracture. Explain exactly how the injury occurred. Tell the doctor if your child had any disease or other trauma before it happened.
The doctor will give your child pain relief medication and carefully examine the leg, including the hip and knee. A child with a thighbone fracture should always be evaluated for other serious injuries.
Great Lakes Physical Therapy
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