Wrist Fractures May Increase Risk of Hip Fractures

Colles' fracture patients found to be at risk for later hip fracture

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Certain types of bone fractures have the potential to put you at risk for further bone fractures — even on a different part of your body. Wrist and hip fractures are one of these combinations.

A recent study found that patients who have suffered a Colles' wrist fracture are at a significantly higher risk of experiencing a hip fracture, compared to people who have not had a Colles' fracture.

The researchers found that osteoporosis (bone disease) is a risk factor associated with hip fracture, especially if a patient has had a Colles' fracture and has osteoporosis.

"Tell your doctor if you have ever had a Colles' fracture."

The lead authors of this study were T.-L. Huang and C.-W. Chen from the China Medical University, the China Medical University Hospital and Chung Yuan Christian University.

A Colles' fracture is a fracture of the Radius bone of the forearm, just above the wrist, and is commonly found after falling onto an outstretched hand. The bone is usually broken in such a way that the wrist bends back behind the normal position. It is common in older people who fall and have osteoporosis — a disease where there is a significant decrease in bone mass.

The study used data on all patients who were diagnosed with Colles' fracture between 2000 and 2006 from inpatient care and outpatient care medical records.

The researchers also selected a control group of patients who had not been diagnosed during the study period. There were eight controls for every one patient with Colles', and the controls and patients were matched by year.

The participants in both groups were followed for one year so the researchers could determine how many patients experienced a hip fracture during the study period.

The findings showed that the participants with Colles' had six times as many hip fractures compared to the control group.

The hip fracture incidence was 56 fractures per 10,000 person-years in the Colles' group compared to 9.3 fractures per 10,000 person-years in the control group.

Person-years is a unit of incidence measurement that is calculated by multiplying the number of years each patient has been in treatment by the number of patients.

Comparatively, the hip fracture incidence ratio between both groups for the female participants was higher than it was for the male participants in each group.

The researchers discovered that Colles' fracture and osteoporosis were the two biggest predictors of hip fracture.

The participants with Colles' fracture were found to be 6.59 times more likely to have a hip fracture compared to the participants that did not have Colles' fracture.

In addition, the participants with osteoporosis were 4.30 times more likely to have a hip fracture compared to the participants without osteoporosis.

Lastly, the researchers determined that the participants who had osteoporosis and Colles' fracture were 7.73 times more likely to have a hip fracture compared to the participants with neither osteoporosis nor a hip fracture.

This study was presented at the International Osteoporosis Foundation Regionals 4th Asia-Pacific Osteoporosis Meeting in Hong Kong, and was published in the December edition of Osteoporosis International.

Review Date: 
December 13, 2013
Last Updated:
December 31, 2013