Science Questions

How much force does it take to snap the femur?

Sun, 27th Feb 2011

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Question

@ristea asked:

Exactly how much force does it take to snap the femur in half? That happened to me, and I heard the force needed is high.

Answer

We put this to Dr Ken Poole...

Ken -   Itís the problem and normally, itís thought of in terms of the amount of energy available in a fall, and itís a surprisingly little amount of the energy, about a fifth to a tenth of the amount of energy in a fall is enough to break that femur.  With a hip fracture, thereís such a thing as the perfect force.  If you are unlucky and fall backwards and to the side, even if you're young, you can snap your femur.

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