Posted by: Steven Melchiorre on Monday, September 25, 2017 at 10:00:00 am Comments (0)
What comes first? One of the most serious fall injuries is a broken hip. It is hard to recover from a hip fracture and afterwards many people are not able to live on their own. As the U.S. population gets older, the number of hip fractures is likely to go up.
Each year, millions of people 65 and older are treated in the ER due to a fall. Treating injuries is very costly. In 2015, costs for falls to Medicare a lone totaled over $31 billion dollars. The average hospital cost for a fall injury is over $30,000.
There is a chicken and egg argument with hip fractures in the medical world. There has been discussion and research over the years on what comes first. Does the hip fracture cause the fall?, or does the fall cause the hip fracture? It seems intuitive that an elderly person would fall because of decreased balance causing a hip fracture. In fact, some statistics show that 95% of hip fractures are from falling, mostly sideways.
Is it possible this number is incorrect? Some research shows that at least 7% of hip fractures are spontaneous, meaning they occurred prior to the fall without trauma. Some of those fractures are from pathologies like osteoporosis. It seems that more research on this dilemma has to be done to get a clear answer. My professional opinion is that most hip fractures come from the fall first. The good thing is that evidence shows exercise can help improve balance and improve bone strength, both decreasing fall and fracture risk.