Last week, forward Kevin Fiala for the Nashville Predators was checked into the boards by Robert Bortuzzo of the St. Louis Blues during the first game of their NHL series. The force of this blow combined with the position of his leg unfortunately caused Mr. Fiala’s femur, or thigh bone, to break. It is a testament to how strong and fast these players are that this injury occurred. Mr. Fiala underwent emergent rodding of the fracture; rodding involves placing a long metal rod in the middle of the hollow femur acting as an internal splint.
The femur is the largest bone in the human bone and is able to withstand incredibly high compressive forces. Using simple physics it is mind boggling the amount of force needed for this injury to occur. However, did you know the majority of young athletes sustain fractures to their long bones such as the femur and tibia by developing stress fractures? This majority develops with repetitive training and running over time. This often starts with a vague pain during the length of the bone occurring with training. However, as the break becomes more significant, athletes will notice a change to having severe pain with activity, pain with walking, pain with rest, and/or pain with sleeping at night. If the developing fracture is caught early enough, these often may be treated with crutches and rest. However, if diagnosed later or if a bone fractures, then a rod similar to Mr. Fiala’s may be required to treat these injuries. Therefore, if you have thigh or leg pain that is progressing to pain with activity, pain at rest, and pain at night, it would be beneficial for you to consider an orthopedic surgeon for evaluation.