Why Brooke Shields' Broken Femur Is Such A Big Deal

Former supermodel Brooke Shields shocked fans recently when she revealed that she is recovering from a broken femur. The announcement on Instagram, where Shields posted a video of herself in a medical facility gingerly walking on crutches, included the caption, "Broke my femur. Beginning to mend. No matter what your challenge is, make a positive choice, for yourself, to move forward." The announcement surprised followers after two weeks of social media silence.

Although Shields didn't reveal the cause of her injury, at age 55, it likely wasn't from a simple slip. Doctors point out that, because the femur is the longest and strongest bone in the human body, it takes a lot of force to break it. Taylor Dunphy, M.D., surgeon and sports medicine specialist with Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Orange County, California, says (via Health), "Femur fractures in young individuals usually occur due to high-energy events like car accidents and ski crashes." In the elderly, since bones weaken with age, it can take much less.

Recovery includes surgery and intensive PT

Recovery from a broken femur can be a long, hard road. Since the femur is essential for walking and weight-bearing activities, a break almost always requires surgery, followed by intensive physical therapy. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, recovery can take anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Thankfully though, in most cases, a full recovery can be expected.

For Shields, this injury isn't her first experience with leg problems. After several years of knee trouble that got progressively worse, she had a partial knee replacement in 2018 (via Prevention). She said, "I never thought I'd have knee problems, and I've got nothing but knee problems." Not one to despair, though, Shields found the silver lining in the problem and came back stronger in mind and body. "I let my body get beaten up for so many decades, and it's gotten so much older than my chronological age. By watching myself get through [a partial knee replacement] and coming out so much stronger, I realized what I'm really capable of."