Navigation Links
Arm Fractures Indicate Greater Risk of Hip Fractures in Elderly Patients

Understanding the relationship between the two events may help prevent future fractures

ROSEMONT, Ill., March 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Elderly women with upper arm fractures are five times more likely than the general population to experience a broken hip in the 12 months following the arm fracture, according to a study published in the March 2009 issue of The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery ( (JBJS). Understanding that risk can be a key to preventing those fractures, the study notes.

"There have been studies in the past showing a relationship between upper arm fractures and hip fractures (, but we wanted to determine when that risk is greatest," says Jeremiah Clinton, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon and associate professor of orthopaedics at the University of Washington in Seattle. "By recognizing when that period of increased risk occurs, physicians have a window of opportunity to take steps that may possibly prevent a subsequent fracture."

"The older population is at a greater risk for fall-related fractures, due to the fact that their bones are generally more brittle than the younger population," Dr. Clinton adds. "These types of low-energy fractures are referred to in the literature as 'fragility fractures.'"

Elderly patients may fall ( due to a number of reasons, including:

  • effects of medications
  • neurological disorders
  • loss of an ability to maintain balance
  • decreased reaction time

Because there can be a number of underlying factors, Dr. Clinton says a multi-disciplinary approach is needed to effectively assess the patient's future risk.

"One of the first steps a patient should take following a fall is to talk with their orthopaedist and other physicians to determine the cause," he notes. "Once the cause is more clearly understood, the proper steps can be taken to decrease a patient's risk of having another fall and potentially future fractures."

Morbidity statistics for hip fracture patients are high. Dr. Clinton notes past studies that indicate 25 percent of patients who experience hip fractures have a survival rate of less than one year, while another 25 percent will lose some level of their independence and potentially need to move to an assisted living facility. As the world's population ages, the potential social and economic costs are huge, he says.

Although this study examined fractures in an elderly female population, Dr. Clinton notes that longer life spans in the United States and elsewhere make male patients vulnerable, as well.

"When we look at the numbers, we can see that there is a huge increase in the population that maybe at risk for these types of fragility fractures, and if we look only at the costs associated with treating hip fractures, we are talking about hundreds of millions, or probably billions, of dollars in health care costs," Dr. Clinton adds. "Much of those costs theoretically could be decreased if we knew when and how to intervene."

Although the exact relationship between arm and hip fractures is not entirely understood, Dr. Clinton says "there is evidence to support that both fractures stem from similar reactions to a fall. When patients age their reflexes slow down and they may not have the time or ability to correctly position themselves as they fall," he noted.

"Rather than trying to catch themselves as a younger patient would do" notes Dr. Clinton, "studies show that elderly people have a tendency to simply tuck and roll, which causes greater force on the shoulder and hip."

Dr. Clinton recommends the following steps for patients experiencing a fall:

  • talk to an internist to help determine any potential underlying medical cause of the fall
  • consider the use of bone-strengthening drugs, called "biphosphenates"
  • talk to an occupational therapist about modifying the living area and using assistive devices to prevent falls

"The use of biphosphenates may be good, preventative advice for elderly patients at risk for fractures, whether or not the patient has had a fracture," added Dr. Clinton.

"What I tell my patients is that we have ample evidence now to support the use of biphosphenates to reduce the risk of fragility fractures, and especially reduce the risk of hip fractures, even within the first year of starting the medication," noted Dr. Clinton. "In my opinion, this is good advice for anyone facing the possibility of a fragility fracture, not just those who have already experienced a fracture."


JBJS ( (

    CONTACT: Catherine Dolf
    C: (847) 894-9112
    or O: (847) 384-4034

    Lauren Pearson
    C: (224) 374-8610
    or O: (847) 384-4031

SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
2. Two common diabetes drugs double the risk of fractures in women
3. Popular class of diabetes drugs doubles risk of fractures in women
4. Healthy bones program reduces hip fractures by 37 percent
5. Repair and healing of osteoporotic fractures a focus of upcoming IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis
6. Heart Failure Raises Risk of Fractures
7. Stem Cells Might Treat Tough Fractures
8. Splints as Good as Plaster Casts for Minor Fractures
9. Fosamax Linked to Unusual Femur Fractures
10. Pain Relief for Osteoporosis Patients With Fractures
11. Long-Term Data for 884 Patients Show Vertebroplasty for Osteoporotic Spinal Fractures Provides Dramatic Pain Relief, Greatly Decreases Disability
Post Your Comments:
(Date:12/1/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... According ... of obesity groups has filed a discrimination claim against the U.S. Department of Health ... in their Affordable Care Act (ACA) plans are breaking the clause in the law ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Califia Farms , one of ... iconic bottle has won top honors in Beverage World Magazine’s Global Packaging Design Awards, ... that it has been selected as a 2015 U.S.A. Taste Champion in the American ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... MA (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... Growth ... in part due to decreases in utilization of hospital and nonhospital care, according to ... CompScope™ Medical Benchmarks for Louisiana, 16th Edition , found medical payments per claim ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... CloudLIMS today ... Golden Bridge Business Awards under the New Products and Services category for its ... sample management software that helps labs organize data and track samples ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... December 01, ... ... cause of non-traumatic limb amputations in the United States. Podiatrists are well aware ... (failure to adopt therapeutic behaviors) are often catastrophic contributors to diseases of the ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/1/2015)... -- Six months of adjunctive metformin therapy does not improve glycemic ... new research from T1D Exchange and funded by ... effect on measures of obesity, including weight and BMI. The ... of the American Medical Association , are from the largest ... overweight and obese adolescents with type 1 diabetes. ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... Russia has always been a country of choice for ... Europe in 2015 were tested in phase II-III ... has always been a country of choice for global multi-center phase ... in 2015 were tested in phase II-III clinical trials ... always been a country of choice for global multi-center phase III clinical ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... 1, 2015 Contraceptives ... Contraceptives, Male Condoms, Female Condoms, Intrauterine Devices, ... Diaphragms, Contraceptive Sponges, Non-Surgical Permanent Contraception Devices) ... Trends and Forecast 2014 - 2020 ", ... (TMR).The report states that the global contraceptives ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: