The epidemiology of adult fractures is changing quickly. An analysis of 5953 fractures reviewed in a single orthopaedic trauma unit in 2000 showed that there are eight different fracture distribution curves into which all fractures can be placed. Only two fracture curves involve predominantly young patients; the other six show an increased incidence of fractures in older patients. It is popularly assumed that osteoporotic fractures are mainly seen in the thoracolumbar spine, proximal femur, proximal humerus and distal radius, but analysis of the data indicates that 14 different fractures should now be considered to be potentially osteoporotic. About 30% of fractures in men, 66% of fractures in women and 70% of inpatient fractures are potentially osteoporotic.