Pediatric femur fractures: Effects of spica cast treatment on family and community

Barbara F. Hughes, Paul D. Sponseller, J. David Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Twenty-three consecutive children with isolated closed femur fractures treated with early spica casts were studied to determine the impact of this treatment on family, school, and other support systems. Mobility was identified by families as the major problem. In families with two working parents, a mean of 3 weeks time off work was needed. None of the children was accepted into school in cast. Home tutoring for a mean of 8 weeks was used, with 48 tutor-hours per child. Despite this, none of the children fell permanently behind their class, and only two temporarily. No child required physical therapy beyond instruction in walking, and 12 had no physical therapy at all. Mean time to independent walking was 5 days and to running, 25 days; skills returned faster in younger children. All aspects of spica treatment were easier for preschool children. This study highlights some of the adaptations necessary with this treatment method and aids in advance planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)457-460
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Pediatric Orthopaedics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Pediatric femur fractures
  • Physical therapy
  • Spica cast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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