Physiological factors associated with injurious falls in older people living in the community

Gerontology. 1992;38(6):338-46. doi: 10.1159/000213351.


Performance in six tests of sensorimotor function was measured in 50 subjects who were admitted to an acute hospital because of a fall (ICD codes E880-888), but who did not suffer a fracture of the lower limbs as a result. Performances in these tests were compared with 50 subjects of the same age and sex who had not fallen in the previous 12 months. It was found that those admitted to hospital because of a fall had decreased tactile sensation, reduced quadriceps strength and increased body sway on firm and compliant surfaces. The fallers also performed poorly in clinical tests of static and dynamic balance. Psychoactive-drug use was associated with falling and a number of test measures, including body sway, static balance, dynamic balance and quadriceps strength. Twenty-seven percent of fallers had poor outcomes, in that 1 year after testing, they had either suffered three or more additional falls, been readmitted to hospital, been transferred to nursing homes or died.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • New South Wales / epidemiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects


  • Psychotropic Drugs