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Femur Fracture Healing May Be Delayed

Home » Femur Fracture Healing May Be Delayed
July 29, 2019
Edward Smith

What Causes Delayed Healing?

A femur fracture is a severe injury, and the recovery process usually takes weeks to months. With proper medical care, most people will make a full recovery after a fracture of the femur. Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where femur fracture healing might be delayed. When the femur fracture healing process is prolonged, individuals may struggle to return to work or school promptly. This can place their family members under a significant amount of stress. For this reason, everyone needs to understand a few of the reasons why the healing process following a femur fracture might be delayed.

The Femur Fracture Might Not Be Totally Reduced

For a bone fracture to heal, the fragments of that bone need to be lined up properly. If someone presents to the doctor with the symptoms of a broken leg, a series of x-ray images will be taken. These x-rays will show the doctor the locations of the femur fracture fragments. If the bone fragments aren’t lined up properly, these fragments must be realigned before the cast can be applied. The process of realigning a broken bone is called reduction.

There are two different types of reduction. These include:

  • Closed Reduction: In a closed reduction, the patient is put to sleep using anesthesia. The doctor will maneuver the injury site to realign the bones. Live imaging is used to show the doctor that the bones are moving into place.
  • Open Reduction: In some situations, a closed reduction might not be possible. In this case, open reduction is needed. This is a surgical procedure where a trained and experienced surgeon opens the injury site, moves the bone fragments into the right locations, and holds them in place with plates, screws, or rods.

If the fracture site hasn’t been completely reduced, the healing process might be delayed. Malunion may result, impairing mobility. Malunion requires the attention of an orthopedic surgeon.

Chronic Medical Conditions Can Delay Femur Fracture Healing

Some individuals might be diagnosed with chronic medical conditions that lead to delayed femur fracture healing. One of the most common conditions is diabetes. Individuals who have poorly controlled diabetes might have poor blood flow to the site of the injury. Without this blood flow, the injury site is not receiving the oxygen and nutrients that it needs to heal quickly.

For new bone to form, nutrients such as calcium are needed to build the bony matrix. Individuals with diabetes might have damaged blood vessels that restrict the flow of blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the femur. This deprives the injury site of the calcium that it needs to form new bone. To prevent this from happening, individuals with diabetes need to make sure that they check their blood sugar and take their medications exactly as prescribed by their doctor.

The Development of Infections Can Delay the Recovery Process

When someone suffers a femur fracture, there is a chance that an infection might develop. Individuals with open femur fractures are at a high risk of developing a disease due to the wound in their skin. Femur fractures that require surgical correction also carry a chance of infection. If an infection of the femur develops, this is called osteomyelitis. This infection may destroy the bone as it is trying to heal, prolonging the recovery process. This infection is typically treated with IV antibiotics. Those who develop a disease after surgery may need to return to the operating room to get their surgical equipment washed out or replaced.

Watch YouTube Video: What Can Cause a Fracture to Have Delayed Healing. In the following video, Dr. David Geier explains some of the most common risks of slow bone healing.

Muscle Strength Plays an Important Role

For a broken leg to become as strong as possible, there needs to be a healthy support system in place. This is where muscle strength plays an important role. The femur is supported by a variety of strong muscles, including the quadriceps, hip flexors, groin, and hamstring. During the healing process, stress needs to be removed from the bone and shifted to the muscles. Therefore, individuals who suffer a femur fracture should enroll in physical therapy. These healthcare professionals can help people strengthen the muscles around the injury site, increasing the strength of the bone. The stronger the muscles around the fracture site, the lower the chance of re-injury, and the quicker the recovery process.

Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer. In some situations, the femur fracture healing process might be delayed. If you or someone care for is undergoing a prolonged femur fracture recovery process, reach out to me at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 to receive free, friendly legal guidance and advice.

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