Femur (Thigh Bone) Fractures

What is a Femur Fracture?

The femur, or thigh bone is the largest bone in the body. The top of the femur connects to the pelvis to form the hip joint and the bottom of the femur connects to the tibia or shin bone to form the knee joint. The treatment for a femur fracture is based on the location of the fracture and the age of the patient. 

When the thigh bone breaks in the middle of the bone, also called the shaft, the age of the patient will determine what treatment may be right for your child.

Ages birth to 6 months: Infants in this age group are treated with a specialized brace called a Pavlik harness.  This is a soft brace that allows the leg to be held in a good position for the fracture to heal.  Infants heal quickly and frequently do not need long term brace wear.  Our brace specialist will work with you to help make sure your baby is comfortable in the brace and that you are comfortable caring for your baby as they heal.

Ages 6 months to 4 years: If your child is in this age group, they will be placed into a body cast, also called a spica cast.  This will be done in the operating room so your child does not have any discomfort and the bone can be set into the correct position.  In the hospital, the nurses will help you learn how to diaper your child with the cast and how to make your child comfortable at home and for car rides.

Age greater than 5 years: Children over the age of 5 and adolescents usually need surgery in order to address their femur fracture.  Metal implants in the form of a plate and screws or rods will be utilized to help realign the bone.  In many instances these will need to be removed at a separate surgery several months later to allow for continued bone growth.

Fractures close to the hip joint or knee frequently require specialized surgical techniques because of their proximity to the growth plates at the ends of the bone.  Our surgeons can speak with you further about the surgery that is right for your child based on their specific fracture.