What is the Femur?
Femur fractures are significant because the femur is the largest bone in your body. It connects the hip to your knee. The femur is the strongest bone in the human body. The femur of the average adult male can support 6,000 lbs of compressive force. The design and shape of the bone allow it to dissipate shock very quickly. It can absorb a larger amount of impact before breaking than concrete or steel. That is why it is very difficult to break a femur. High enough forces are rarely generated by the body under its own power to break a femur.
Engineers have studied the marvel of the femur and used what they learned. Karl Cullman, a Swiss engineer used what he learned to invent the crane. And Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel in 1889 using the shape and structure of the femur.
Femur Fracture Types
A stress fracture is a small crack in the bone often called hairline fractures. They are a common injury in sports. Often, a stress fracture is a result of overuse. Or when muscles are overtired and not able to lessen the shock of repeated impacts. These hairline fractures are difficult for doctors to diagnose. But it is important to treat before a more serious fracture occurs.
A partial fracture is when the bone only breaks partway through the bone. A perpendicular blow to the middle of the femur would often cause this type of break.
Severe Impaction fracture
An impacted fracture occurs when the ends of the broken femur bone are jammed together. It occurs when a large force is applied to the ends of the bone, causing the two fragments that jam into each other. Falling from a height and landing feet first would be an example of how this injury could occur.
Completed Displaced Fracture
A completed displaced fracture is when the bone breaks in two. This is the most severe of the four types and potentially deadly if a sharp edge of the bone nicks an artery. Sometimes the femur breaks in such a way that bone fragments stick out through the skin. When this happens, it is called a compound fracture. Completed displaced fractures have a higher risk of complications and take a longer time to heal.
I have had one of these and it is a really big problem when it happens. It took me years to get back to 90%.
Femur Fracture Symptoms
Most femur fractures are probably easy to diagnose. Breaking the largest bone in your body most often results in severe pain and the inability to put weight on it. But stress fractures are another story. I had a stress fracture that went undiagnosed for a year and a half even when I was under the supervision of an orthopedic surgeon.
Symptoms Of Hairline Femur Fracture Are:
- deep ache
- pain can gradually get worse over time
I suggest that if you have these symptoms, you go to the doctor. You will probably have an MRI to determine if you have a femur stress fracture. I had a deep ache in my leg and a limp that wouldn’t go away. The doctor did not diagnose my stress fracture until it became a partial fracture. You can read my story here: https://pemf-guru.online/pemf/femur-fractures-complications-fosamax-osteoporosis-medication/
What Causes Femur Fractures
The femur is the strongest bone in your body and usually does not break from a fall. The thighbone (femur) is unlikely to be broken without more significant trauma.
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports injuries
- Child abuse
- Overuse. Stress fractures are usually caused by repetitive force or overuse, such as running long distances.
- Osteoporosis. Stress fractures and more severe fractures can also occur with the normal use of a bone that’s been weakened by a condition such as osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis Medications Causes Femur Breaks
“bisphosphonates prevent the breaking down part (known as bone resorption). Over time, this can lead to an increased risk of atypical femur fractures.”https://www.goodrx.com/blog/alendronate-fosamax-side-effects-risks-myths-facts/
When they are on it [Foxamax] for five, six, seven or eight years, they lost their ability to remodel and regenerate their skeleton,” said Dr. Joseph Lane, orthopedic trauma surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. “[A subset of women] are very vulnerable and they will then develop problems of brittle bone.”https://abcnews.go.com/WN/WorldNews/osteoporosis-drugs-fosamax-increase-risk-broken-bones-women/story?id=10044066
“An estimated that 250,000 people suffer a femur fracture annually. It is expected this number to double by the year 2050.”Journal of American Academic Orthopedic Surgery
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Long-term Bisphosphonate Use Degrades Cortical Bone
Long-term effects of bisphosphonate therapy: perforations, microcracks, and mechanical properties
“caution should be exercised when prescribing bisphosphonates to all patients deemed at risk of fracture and the duration of treatment should be carefully considered.”
HOW BONE LOSS DRUGS CAN ACTUALLY CAUSE FRACTURES
“New research offers a couple of possible explanations for why bisphosphonates—drugs like Fosamax, Boniva, and Reclast—can leave users more vulnerable to a rare but serious form of bone fracture.”
Long-Term Safety of Bisphosphonates
Unlike most medications, bisphosphonates remain in the body for decades. There is no known method of removing the medication from the bones.
Osteoporosis drugs: Risk of bone problems in the jaw and thigh?
Certain types of osteoporosis drugs have been associated with an increased risk of two rare but serious problems — osteonecrosis of the jaw and an unusual type of fracture in the upper thigh bone (femur).
What’s the story with Fosamax?
“As with any drug, don’t take Fosamax unless you’re sure you need to. If you’ve been taking it and are concerned about long-term effects, talk to your clinician about taking a break. Unfortunately, we have little solid evidence to guide us in this area. We know that bisphosphonates stay in bone for years, so it’s not clear that a “drug holiday” will lower your risk for possible long-term effects.”
Starting an osteoporosis drug? Here’s what you need to know
“Other studies have examined the risk of damage to jaw tissue with the use of bisphosphonates, one type of medication commonly used to treat osteoporosis. The risk is real, but rare.”
New Cautions About Long-Term Use of Bone Drugs
“The F.D.A. review, published in The New England Journal of Medicine online on Wednesday, was prompted by a growing debate over how long women should continue using the drugs, known as bisphosphonates, which are sold as generic versions of brands like Fosamax and Boniva, as well as Novartis’s Reclast.
The concern is that after years of use, the drugs may in rare cases actually lead to weaker bones in certain women, contributing to “rare but serious adverse events,” including unusual femur fractures, esophageal cancer and osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful and disfiguring crumbling of the jaw bone.”
Osteoporosis drugs may make bones weaker
Drugs used to treat weak bones in elderly patients suffering from osteoporosis may actually make them weaker, research suggests.
Alendronate (Fosamax) for Osteoporosis: Facts vs. Myths
“Research has shown that the risk of death after hip fracture may be around 10% at 30 days after the fracture, and 27% at 1 year after the fracture.” … “Bisphosphonates prevent the breaking down part (known as bone resorption). Over time, this can lead to an increased risk of atypical femur fractures.”
Dr. Donnelly, “In contrast, bone tissue from long-term bisphosphonate-treated patients is more homogeneously mineralized, and because cracks are able to propagate with less splitting and twisting, the bone is less resistant to fracture.”
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Bisphosphonates can also carry a risk of atypical femoral fracture, which starts when the outer rim of the femur (thigh bone) starts to weaken. Unlike stress fractures or other bone breaks, the bone cracks from just normal activity. Aching pain in the groin or thigh can be a warning signal that this may be happening, according to American Bone Health. With no intervention, the crack continues to grow and eventually, the thigh bone breaks in two.
Thigh fractures linked to osteoporosis drugs; long-term use questioned
Here’s how bisphosphonates work: Bones undergo a constant process of breakdown (called resorption) and rebuilding. When bones break down faster than they can rebuild, they become weak—the condition known as osteoporosis. Weakened bones make people more vulnerable to fractures if they fall. Bisphosphonates decrease bone resorption, which helps maintain bone density and keep the skeleton strong.
That’s all good. Yet bisphosphonates—like most drugs—can have side effects. As we wrote in the October 2010 Harvard Women’s Health Watch, one such side effect is atypical fractures of the thighbone. The study released today in the Archives of Internal Medicine adds further support to this connection. In this study of 477 people, 82% of those with atypical fractures were taking bisphosphonates. Only 6.4% of patients who had a classic femur fracture were on the drugs. Bisphosphonates have also been implicated in a rare, but very serious bone disease of the jaw (called osteonecrosis) in women who undergo dental procedures involving the jaw while taking these drugs.
Fosamax is linked to Femur, Hip, Shoulder, and Knee fractures and Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ), which may lead to painful repair surgeries and partial or full Jaw removal
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ):
- Pain, Swelling, and Infection(osteomyelitis) in the gums
- Loosened Teeth
- Lost Teeth
- Poor dental and gum healing
- Numbness and “heaviness” in the jaw
- Partial loss of the Jaw
- Complete loss of the Jaw
- Broken Femur/ Thigh bones
- Fractured Femur/Thigh bone
- Severe pain or swelling around the Thigh
Osteonecrosis (bone damage) and Osteomyelitis (infection) may also occur in the following places:
- The Hip
- The Knee
- The Shoulder