Accident Related Broken Femur Injuries
The femur, or the thigh bone, is one of the longest and strongest bones in the human body. Extending all the way from the hip joint to the knee joint, the femur requires tremendous force to be broken. Given the length and importance of the femur, a femur injury has devastating consequences.
According to a recent femur study, individuals who have fractured or broken their femur are more likely to die than individuals who are the same age and have not suffered a broken femur. Around twenty percent of femur-fracture patients die within a year of their injury. Similarly, a small percentage of these patients will actually have a complete recovery from their broken femur.
Following a broken femur, most patients spend at least two weeks in the hospital recovering. The real post-hospital recovery period is typically extremely lengthy, and may include physical therapy or admission to a rehab facility. Femur fractures can cause individuals of any age to experience a loss of independence and reduced quality of life.
If you have suffered a femur injury as the result of the reckless conduct of another person, you are entitled to reimbursement for your harms and losses. Under Missouri law these losses include medical expenses, lost wages, future medical care, pain and suffering and other accident related damages.
Common Causes and Types of Femur Fractures
In an individual with normal bone strength, car accidents are the number one cause of femur fractures. In addition, broken femurs are often the result of hard-impact slip and falls or sports injuries. Other breaks, which are typical to individuals with less than normal bone strength, are usually the result of severe infections, osteoporosis, or tumors.
Femur breaks are generally separated into three broad categories:
Femoral shaft breaks: A femoral shaft break is an extremely severe and painful injury, typically caused by a high-speed car crash, or a long distance fall. This type of break almost always requires surgical intervention. The most common procedure involves placing a metal rod in the center of the thigh bone, and then re-connecting the two bone ends. The rod, called an intramedullary rod, is then fastened with screws both above and below the break. Typically this rod will stay in the thigh for a lifetime, but pain or other problems may warrant the surgical removal or replacement of the rod.
If, for some reason, the intramedullary rod cannot be used, other treatment options exist. Alternate ways of treating a femoral shaft break include the insertion of a plate and screws or an internal fixator.
Supracondylar femur breaks: This type of femur break is realtively uncommon, as this break is located just above the knee joint. In a supracondylar break, the cartilage surface of the knee joint is damaged, so the injury must be treated as both a break and a cartiliage injury. Individuals suffering from this type of injury usually have a heightened risk of incurring arthritis of the knee. While this type of fracture could be the cause of a fall or car wreck, it is more in common in patients with osteoporosis or those who have had a knee replacement surgery. In these types of individuals, the knee joint is typically weaker than normal, and is ultimately more prone to breaks.
The treatment of supracondylar fracture varies by the cause of the break. Treatment may require a cast, brace, external fixator, plate, screws, or an intramedullary rod.
Proximal femur breaks: A proximal femur break, also known as a hip fracture, inolves the highest portion of the thigh bone, near the hip joint. This type of fracture can occur as a broken hip, a femoral neck break, or an intertrochanteric femur fracture.
- Broken hip: Hip fractures are often caused by a fall or a high impact car accident. A hip fracture consists of a break to the hip bone, and is almost always treated with surgery.
- Femoral neck break: A femoral neck fracture appears beneath the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint, at the femoral neck. In a femoral neck break, the ball is disconnected from the rest of the thigh bone, or femur. This is a very severe injury, because the blood supply to the broken portion of the bone is often disrupted at the time of injury. Because blood supply is interrupted, these breaks are at a high risk of not healing. Oftentimes, due to these blood supply issues, this type of break is treated by a partial or full hip replacement. Treatment typically depends on the age of the individual and the severity of displacement. Hip replacements are often avoided in young patients, as they wear out in more active individuals. For femoral neck breaks that do not require hip replacements, hip pinning and hip hemiarthroplasty are most commonly used. The hip pinning procedure involves the placement of several screws across the break. A hip hemiarthroplasty is a partial hip replacement where the ball-and-socket joint is removed and a metal prosthesis is implanted into the hip.
- Intertrochanteric femur fracture: This hip fracture occurs lower than a femoral neck fracture. This type typically requires a different kind of treatment because the blood flow is usually in tact, allowing the break to be repaired. Oftentimes, this type of femur fracture typically does not require the hip replacement procedure.
Symptoms of a Broken Femur?
Odds are that if you have a femur fracture, you will certainly know it. The symptoms of a broken femur are different in each individual who suffers a break. Similarly, symptoms vary based on how the break occurred. The most common symptoms usually include:
- Contusions and swelling
- Lower back pain
- Awkward foot angle while sitting
- Hip, thigh, or knee pain
- Inability to walk or stand without favoring one leg
If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, contact your medical professionals immediately.
Receiving Compensation for Broken Femurs After an Accident
If you have sustained a broken or fractured femur in a car accident or fall which was caused by the reckless or negligent conduct of another, you have a limited amount of time to seek reimbursement. It is important you start the process as soon as possible by reaching out to a femur injury lawyer.
If you or someone you love has suffered a broken or fractured femur in an accident, contact The Dixon Injury Firm 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (314) 409-7060 or 855-402-7274 (toll free). All consultations are FREE and there is NO FEE for our services unless we win. The Dixon Injury Firm has helped recover over $35,000,000 for accident victims.