A spiral fracture of the femur occurs when the thigh bone, commonly known as the femur, is twisted in a helical motion, causing it to break. This type of fracture is most common in small children or elderly people, though this bone is usually very strong. The treatment will vary depending on the age and health of the person, as well as the severity of the injury. Some fractures may only require immobilization, while others may require surgery.
When someone suffers a femur spiral fracture, the leg needs to be immobilized immediately and the person with the injury needs to stay off the injured leg. If at all possible, the leg should be elevated to promote blood flow and reduce swelling, though this should only be done if the leg does not need to be moved much. Movement can worsen the injury as well as the pain the person will suffer. These injuries tend to be quite painful to begin with, so any excess movement should be avoided. An assessment of any other injuries will also be necessary, and the injured person should be transported to a hospital while moving the limb as little as possible.
A medical professional will then order an X-ray to determine the severity of the fracture. Less serious breaks may only require that the limb be immobilized in a cast and allowed to heal over the course of months. This recovery time will vary depending on the health and age of the injured person, and the muscles of the legs are likely to weaken during the healing process. Physical therapy will therefore be necessary after a cast is removed, and it should be done under the guidance of a health professional.
More serious instances of a spiral fracture of the femur will require surgical attention. A surgeon will access the bone by making an incision into the leg, and pins or plates will be used to hold the bone together. The surgeon will also address any soft tissue injuries incurred as a result of the fracture. During the healing process, the incision wound will need to be kept clean and dry to prevent infections that can become serious or life-threatening. The recovery time for an injury that requires surgery is likely to be fairly protracted and potentially painful.