• There is very little work that discusses the pain experience following fractured shaft of femur. Therefore, an exploratory phenomenological study of the individual experience of pain following a traumatic fracture of the shaft of femur was conducted.
• Two key themes emerged: the injury experience and the pain experience, both linked to the need to maintain physical integrity.
• The findings underline the highly complex nature of the pain experience and illustrate the range of experiences that individuals with traumatic fractures are exposed to.
• The findings have implications for the nursing and medical management of patients following long bone fracture.