A supracondylar femoral fracture is also known as a distal femur fracture, and it occurs whenever the thigh bone, known as the femur, breaks right at the knee. Because the femur is the strongest bone in the body, these fractures are most common as the result of significant trauma. Learning more about supracondylar femoral fractures can help those dealing with this injury make better decisions about their personal care.
Supracondylar Femoral Fracture Causes
The causes of supracondylar femur fractures can vary a great deal, but in almost every case, these fractures are the result of a high-force traumatic injury. Common ones include falls from great distances and motor vehicle accidents, and they have also occurred during collisions in contact sports. People who have medical conditions like osteoporosis are at much greater risk for distal femur fractures as it takes far less force to break the bone.
Symptoms of Supracondylar Femoral Fractures
The symptoms associated with a supracondylar femur fracture will vary based on the severity of the injury. Sometimes, the bone simply cracks, and while this is still incredibly painful for the patient, it may or may not cause immediate bruising. In fact, for simple injuries like this, an X-ray is often the only way to tell whether a break exists. However, in some other cases, if the break is severe, there may be a great deal of sudden swelling and bruising, a very visible deformity in the leg, and even a marked shortening of the leg. In a handful of cases, the broken bone may even pierce the skin.
How to Treat a Supracondylar or Distal Femur Fracture
Treating a distal or supracondylar femoral fracture involves numerous steps that will vary depending on the severity of the injury. For example, if the injury consists of a minor crack along with swelling and pain, a doctor may recommend a knee brace or stabilizer and crutches along with anti-inflammatory medications and narcotic pain medications as needed. If the injury is severe, patients will need surgical intervention. External and internal fixation may be used to hold bones in place with advanced materials, allowi9ng them to heal. In some cases, the bone may only need to be realigned before a cast is applied.
Recovering from a supracondylar femoral fracture can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more depending on the nature of the injury, the patient’s age, and the patient’s medical history. If you have experienced this injury, or if you suspect that you may have such a fracture, seek immediate medical help so that you can receive the treatment you need and start healing.