While winter brings the risk of slip and fall injuries, most hip fractures among the elderly occur indoors and during warmer months, according to a new study presented at an October anesthesiology conference.
By the numbers: Anesthesiologists at The Hospital of Central Connecticut reviewed records for 544 patients treated for hip fracture from 2013 to 2016. They found more than 55 percent occurred from May 1 to Oct. 31, with the highest proportion occurring in May, September and October. They also found that the majority of falls, 76 percent, occurred indoors. The most common reason for both indoor and outdoor hip fractures was tripping over an obstacle. Indoor falls were caused most often by tripping over throw rugs or by falling out of bed. Outdoor fractures were most commonly caused by tripping over an obstacle, being struck by or falling from a vehicle or falling down the stairs.
Bottom line: The study quantified causes and timing of hip fractures only at one hospital, and may not be representative of other areas of the country. Nonetheless it underscores the risks of falling and breaking a hip among the elderly. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among American seniors. Hospitals, home health agencies and other senior health services offer fall prevention visits that identify potential fall hazards and help train seniors to improve balance and avoid falls.