The relationship of intrinsic fall risk factors to a recent history of falling in older women with osteoporosis

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2005 Jul;35(7):452-60. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2005.35.7.452.


Study design: Cross-sectional descriptive analysis investigating intrinsic fall risk factors in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Objective: To examine the relationships between history of recent falls and balance, pain, quality of life, function, posture, strength, and mobility.

Background: Women with osteoporosis who fall are at a high risk of fracture due to decreased bone strength. Identifying fall risk factors for older women with osteoporosis is a crucial step in decreasing the incidence of falls and fracture. METHOD AND MEASURES: Seventy-three women over 60 years of age with established osteoporosis participated in comprehensive testing of fall history, physical function, and quality of life.

Results: Significant correlations were found between a recent history of falls and degree of kyphosis (r = 0.29), fear of falls/emotional status (r = -0.27), and balance (r = -0.27). Degree of kyphosis and fear of falls/emotional status explained 20% of the variance of recent fall history using binary logistic regression. Women with an increased kyphosis were more likely to have had a recent fall (odds ratio [OR], 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03-1.34) and those with better emotional status and less fear of falling were less likely to have had a recent fall (OR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.38-0.97).

Conclusion: Increased thoracic kyphosis and fear of falling are 2 intrinsic factors associated with recent falls in women with osteoporosis. To design more effective interventions to decrease fall risk in this population, future prospective, longitudinal studies should monitor kyphosis, fear of falling, balance reactions, and other potential risk factors not identified in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fear
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Postural Balance / physiology
  • Posture / physiology
  • Quality of Life
  • Risk Factors