Thighbone fractures in children

The thighbone or femur is the biggest and sturdiest bone in the body. On the other hand, it can still break when a child is subjected to abrupt forceful impact. This is due to the fact that bones of children are not yet fully developed. Being prepared to handle a fracture is important. To learn to recognize and manage bone injuries including fractures, register for first aid training here.

What are the causes?

The most common cause of thighbone fractures in children below 1 year old is child abuse. Remember that child abuse is also a leading cause of thighbone fractures among children between ages 1-4 years old, but the occurrence is lesser.

Among adolescents, vehicular accidents are responsible for most cases of femoral shaft fractures as well as other forms of injuries in the body.

Possible risks

Scenarios or events that increase the risk for pediatric femoral fractures include the following:

  • Child abuse
  • Falling hard while playing in the playground
  • Involved in a motor vehicle accident
  • Sustained a hit while playing contact sports
Thighbone fracture

The thighbone can break when a child is subjected to abrupt forceful impact.

What are the types of thighbone fractures?

When it comes to thighbone fractures, they tend to vary. The bony pieces can be aligned properly or out of alignment and the fracture can be closed or open. On the other hand, an open fracture is uncommon.

In specific terms, thighbone fractures are categorized based on the following:

  • Location of the fracture on the bone
  • Position of the fractured edges
  • Shape of the fractured ends
  • Number of fractured parts

What are the symptoms?

A thighbone fracture is considered as a serious injury. A child suspected with thighbone fracture shows evident symptoms which includes the following:

  • Severe pain
  • Deformed or swollen thigh
  • Inability to walk or stand
  • Diminished range of motion of the knee or hip

The child should be taken to the emergency department right away if a broken thighbone is suspected.

Diagnosing thighbone fractures

The doctor will ask how the injury occurred. You have to inform the doctor if the child had any diseases or sustained other forms of trauma before the injury occurred.

In most cases, the doctor will provide the child with pain relief medications and thoroughly examine the leg, including the knee and hip. A child with a thighbone fracture must be assessed for other serious injuries as well.

An X-ray is also requested to check what the broken bone looks like and an X-ray of the healthy leg is also taken for comparison. The doctor will check the X-ray results for any damage to the growth plate close to the end of the femur. If required, surgery might be carried out to restore the functionality of the growth plate and regular X-rays will be taken during the following months to monitor the growth of the bone.


When managing a thighbone fracture, the bone pieces are realigned and held in place for healing. The treatment will depend on various factors such as the age, weight, how the injury occurred, type of fracture and if the bone pierced the skin.