A fracture refers to a broken bone, which may be partially or completely cracked or broken due to various causes, including injuries such as falls or accidents, repetitive stress frequently observed in athletes or dancers, and abnormal weakening of the bone structure due to conditions such as osteoporosis or osteogenesis imperfecta.
Bone fractures risk factors
- Age: Bone mass peaks by the late twenties in most healthy adults. As we age, our bones lose strength and become less dense and more fragile, which increases the risk of fractures. Falls and fractures are common among the elderly.
- Gender: Women are at higher risk of fractures than men because women’s bones are generally smaller and less dense, even at the peak of bone mass in their late twenties. After menopause, decreased oestrogen levels lead to more bone density loss and higher risk of fractures.
- Lifestyle factors: Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are linked to decreased bone density, increased bone loss risk, and potential fractures. Living a sedentary (inactive) lifestyle can cause muscles and bones to lose strength. Weak muscles can also lead to poor posture and balance, increasing the risk of falls and fractures.
- Medical conditions: Osteoporosis is a condition of reduction in bone density and bone mass. This leads to decreased bone strength which may result in low-impact trauma fractures. Most common osteoporotic fractures occur in the hip, vertebra (spine bone) and wrist. Long-term use of steroids in rheumatoid arthritis can also weaken bones and increase the risk of fractures.
- Nutritional deficiencies: A diet lacking calcium and vitamin D can weaken bones and increase the risk of fractures.
- Previous fractures: Having previous fractures can also increase the risk of another fracture.
Ways to reduce bone fracture risk
Eat a well-balanced diet
A diet rich in protein, calcium, and vitamin D increases the formation of the organic matrix of bone and reduces bone loss.
Good sources of calcium include low-fat dairy products, broccoli, dark green leafy vegetables, and calcium-fortified foods such as tofu and bread. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, red meat, fatty fish, liver, fish oil and vitamin D-fortified foods such as milk and cereals.
You should also consume an appropriate amount of calories based on your weight, height, and age. Consult your doctor or nutritionist if you are unsure how much you need to maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise can help maintain bone mass and improve balance and flexibility, thus reducing the risk of falls and fractures. Exercises such as cycling and swimming can help build and maintain strong muscles.
Weight-bearing exercises force your body to work against gravity. This helps to strengthen bones and improve mobility. Examples include walking, hiking, and dancing.
Resistance exercises using free weights or your body's resistance to work against gravity help improve muscle strength. Examples include using dumbbells and barbells, elastic resistance bands, or weight-training machines.
Quit smoking and avoid second-hand smoke
Avoid smoking and second-hand smoke at all costs. If you do smoke, quite smoking now. Ask your doctor for the best strategy to quit smoking.
Book an appointment at Gleneagles Hospitals
The caring and multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals are available for consultation and to provide the best care. Get in touch with us to book an appointment with an Orthopaedic specialist at Gleneagles Hospital today.
If you encounter a situation that requires medical treatment or major trauma, please seek immediate medical attention at the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at your nearest Gleneagles Hospital. The team of skilled emergency physicians, nurses, and support staff is available 24/7 to provide immediate care and support.
- Osteoporosis and exercise. Available at https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/osteoporosis-and-exercise [Accessed 6 March 2023]
- Keep bones healthy over 65. Available at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/bone-health/keep-your-bones-strong-over-65/ [Accessed 6 March 2023]
- Fracture Risk Factors. Available at https://americanbonehealth.org/fracture/fracture-risk-factors/ [Accessed 6 March 2023]
- Effective exercises for osteoporosis. Available at https://www.health.harvard.edu/pain/effective-exercises-for-osteoporosis [Accessed 6 March 2023]
- Bed Rest and Immobilisation: Risk Factors for Bone Loss. Available at https://www.bones.nih.gov/health-info/bone/osteoporosis/conditions-behaviors/bed-rest#b [Accessed 6 March 2023]