A Femur Fracture Rehab Case Study

Femur fracture case study - playing baseball

If it sounds terrible, that’s because it is: according to the American Physical Therapy Association, a femur fracture is the “break, crack, or crush injury of the thigh bone.” Recovery time for this painful injury can range from anywhere to four to six months.

Though there are many causes for femur fracture, including contact sports and high-impact exercise, this kind of injury can also result from pre-existing conditions such as osteoporosis, bone cysts, or even tumors.

Regardless of the cause or severity, most patients require some form of physical therapy to improve motion, strength, and expedite their return to physical activity.

Femur Fracture Treatment and The Healing Process

In some cases, femoral shaft fractures require not only surgery, but the placement of a steel, “intramedullary” rod called an intramedullary rod. Just take this femur fracture recovery case study, in which a patient required the placement of a rod for a fracture in her left femur. It wasn’t until after 11 weeks and very light water therapy that this patient could even begin unweighting therapy with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill™.

Unweighting for Femur Recovery and Pain Management

Once he did, this patient was able to begin walking at 30% of his body weight at 1.5 to 2.0 mph and a 0% incline. A modest start, but a start nonetheless, especially considering the severity of the injury.

Over time, this patient’s physical therapist applied more body weight in small increments. As the patient progressed, he returned to a normal gait pattern on land. After the rehabilitation program, the patient could walk, run, and play doubles tennis without any pain.  

“After falling and fracturing my leg, I was only able to bear 50 pounds of weight through my leg. I was scared at first, but it was amazing; I felt like I was floating on air. I couldn’t believe I was walking and not in pain. The AlterG is definitely helping me reach my rehabilitation goals. Next week, I can start to bear more weight and the AlterG will really help me add weight slowly and safely as I continue to regain strength. I can see myself walking the way I used to.” 

You can read the full femur fracture case study here.