Even though the femur is the strongest bone, kids can break a thighbone when a strong blow is applied. For example, a car crash or a strong hit during contact sports could fracture a femur. This is a serious and painful injury. According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, an additional concern is damage to the growth plates located at the end of the femur, which could prevent proper bone formation.
Initially, your physician may choose to use traction (a counterweight system) to help a child’s weight pull his or her fracture back into position, but a fracture requires casting or implants to heal completely. With manipulation, bones may realign. However, an orthopedic surgeon may need to perform surgery to ensure proper healing.
There are several different treatment options for thighbone fractures:
- The fracture may require a spica cast, a type of hip cast made of plaster or fiberglass, fitted after the bone begins to heal (usually several weeks). Small children may be fitted with a spica cast right away.
- The orthopedic physician may use an external device. A frame immobilizes the fracture and surgically implanted pins or screws are placed at the fracture to keep it perfectly aligned.
- In some cases, an internal device, usually a rod or plate, is secured directly to the bone with a nailing system during surgery.