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Author:

Carmen Abbott, MA, PT

School of Health Professions, University of Missouri-Columbia

Falls and Hip Fractures

Risk Factors for Falls and Fractures

Medical Risk Factors

  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson's
  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Arthritis
  • Gait deficit
  • Balance deficit
  • Psychotropic medication use
  • Depression
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Personal history of fracture / falls
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Dementia / poor health / frailty
  • Poor vision
  • Use of oral glucocorticoids for > 3 months

(Campbell AJ, 2006; Kessel B, 2004).

Demographic Risk Factors

  • Female gender
  • Older age
  • Caucasian
  • Low body weight and body mass index
  • Low calcium intake
  • Smoking / excessive alcohol intake
  • Low level of physical activity
  • Use of assistive devices
  • Impaired activities of daily living

(Campbell AJ, 2006; Fuller GF, 2000; Kessel B, 2004; Tinetti ME, 2003).

Common Risk Factors

Most common risk factors for falls in 16 studies
Risk factor Mean RR or OR*
Muscle weakness4.4
History of falls3.0
Gait deficit2.9
Balance deficit2.9
Use assistive device2.6
Visual deficit1.5
Arthritis2.4
Impaired ADL2.3
Depression2.2
Cognitive impairment1.8
Age > 80 years1.7
Source: Guideline for the prevention of falls in older persons. JAGS 2001;49:664-672.
*RR for prospective studies; OR for retrospective studies.

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Last Update: Dec 3 2012