Femur Fracture Types

The 3 types of femoral shaft fractures are as follows:

  • Type I - Spiral, torsion, or transverse (most common)
  • This is the most common type of fractured femur. A classic example of this is a snow skier who lock the feet in ski boots. When they lose contrl and fall the ski will rotate and violently twist the leg in one direction creating a "spiral" fracture of the femur. The spiral break basically looks like a steep angled fracture in the femur, as seen in the pic below. On a sad note, this is a very common warning sign of child abuse.

    femur fracture spiral

  • Type II - Comminuted
  • The comminuted femur fracture is a break in which there are three or more fragments of the femur resulting from tremendous pressure. These are very common in car accidents. Comminuted femur fractures can be especially difficult to treat, as the fragments can make things complicated for the doctor.

    femur fracture comminuted

  • Type III - Open
  • An open femur fracture tends to be the most gruesome. This is when high pressure is exerted on the femur and the bone tears through the thigh tissue and skin. You're basically looking at an exposed bone with blood loss. These are very serious and should be taken care of immediately.

    femur fracture open

Other notes: Diaphyseal fractures result from significant force transmitted from a direct blow or from indirect force transmitted at the knee. Pathologic fractures may occur with relatively little force. These may be the result of bone weakness from osteoporosis or lytic lesions.

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