UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Femoral neck fractures

Keywords: X-ray, Hip pain (PubMed Search)

Posted: 3/12/2016 by Brian Corwell, MD
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Femoral neck fracture

  • The most commonly missed hip fracture

We typically think of the presentation of the displaced fracture severe pain, writhing in the bed, unable to ambulate, limited ROM

* However, patients with nondisplaced fractures (15 20%) may walk with a limp

* Occurs primarily in the elderly & osteoporotic population after a fall directly onto the hip

* Look for a cortical step-off in the femoral neck (w/ foreshortening)

* A patient with a minimally displaced fracture may only complain of hip, knee, or groin pain and may be able to walk (albeit with a limp)

* Almost 9% of hip fractures are radiographically normal (Nondisplaced or impacted fractures)

* Fractures which were initially nondisplaced, may become displaced upon re-presentation

* Remember the limitations of plain x-ray in the evaluation of femoral neck fractures!

* Because of the significant complication of overlooking a femoral neck fracture, MRI has become the recommended imaging modality of choice for a patient with a high suspicion for a femoral neck fracture, despite normal plain radiographs of the hip