Background: Situational factors during a fall among three common types of fractures of the distal forearm, hip, and vertebrae among older women in Taiwan were investigated. Methods: In 2016 ~ 2017, study participants were identified from those aged ≥65 years who visited emergency departments due to a fall in two university-affiliated hospitals in Taipei. In addition to individual characteristics, situational factors during the fall (location, activity, change of center of mass, fall mode, fall direction, initiating a protective response, and being hit) were collected. A sample of 203 distal-forearm fractures, 189 vertebral fractures, and 375 hip fractures was recruited, while 717 women with a soft-tissue injury were used as a control group. The identification of situational risk factors for each type of fracture was validated by using those who sustained one of the other two types of fracture as a control group. Results: After adjusting for age and other individual characteristics, compared to soft-tissue injuries, distal-forearm fractures were significantly more likely to occur with slips (odds ratio [OR] = 11.0; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.76 ~ 25.4), trips (OR = 3.40; 95% CI = 1.42 ~ 8.17), step-downs (OR = 4.95; 95% CI = 2.15 ~ 11.4), and from sideways falls (OR = 1.73; 95% CI = 1.12 ~ 2.67) and significantly less likely to occur indoors (OR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.42 ~ 0.90) or from backwards falls (OR = 0.62; 95% CI = 0.41 ~ 0.95). Hip fractures were significantly more likely to occur with step-downs (OR = 1.76; 95% CI = 1.13 ~ 2.75) and from backwards (OR = 3.16; 95% CI = 2.15 ~ 4.64) or sideways falls (OR = 5.56; 95% CI = 3.67 ~ 8.41) and significantly less likely when hitting an object (OR = 0.26; 95% CI = 0.13 ~ 0.52) or initiating a protective response (OR = 0.58; 95% CI = 0.36 ~ 0.93). Vertebral fractures were significantly more likely to occur with slips (OR = 2.42; 95% CI = 1.30 ~ 4.50), step-downs (OR = 2.53; 95% CI = 1.43 ~ 4.48), and backwards falls (OR = 2.15; 95% CI = 1.39 ~ 3.32). Similar results were found in the validation analyses. Conclusions: Large variations in situational risk factors for the three types of fracture in older women existed. A combination of individual and situational risk factors may display a more-comprehensive risk profile for the three types of fracture, and an intervention that adds training programs on safe landing strategies and effective compensatory reactions may be valuable in preventing serious injuries due to a fall.
ASJC Scopus subject areas