The aim of this study was to examine the pattern of fracture risk following a prior fracture at the spine, shoulder or hip. We studied 1918 patients with fractures at these sites identified from the Department of Radiology in Malmo who were followed for 5 years. Poisson regression was used to compute fracture rates immediately after the initial fracture and at 5 years thereafter in men and women aged 60 or 80 years. Immediate fracture risk was higher than that of the general population, more markedly so at the age of 60 than at 80 years. At the age of 60 years, the risk of hip, forearm and spine fractures were significantly increased following a prior spine, hip or shoulder fracture in men. A similar pattern was seen in women, except that the increase in risk of forearm fracture following a spine or hip fracture was not statistically significant. The incidence of further fractures at the shoulder, spine or hip fell with time after the first fracture, a fall that was significant for all fractures after a shoulder fracture, hip fracture after a spine fracture, and hip and spine fractures after a hip fracture. We conclude that the risk of a subsequent fracture immediately after an osteoporotic fracture is highest immediately after the event. This provides a rationale for very early intervention immediately after fractures to avoid recurrent fractures.