Predictors of falls in women with and without osteoporosis

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2010 Sep;40(9):582-8. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2010.3239.


Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Objective: To evaluate the relationship between the occurrence of falls and muscle strength, flexibility, and balance in postmenopausal women with and without osteoporosis.

Background: Osteoporosis and falls are common problems encountered in the elderly.

Methods: A total of 133 women with and 133 without osteoporosis, aged 60 years or greater, were included in the study. Women were interviewed about clinical and social demographic characteristics and the occurrence of falls in the previous 12 months. The variables evaluated were presence of osteoporosis, muscle strength, flexibility, and balance.

Results: A significantly higher percentage of women with osteoporosis (51%) compared to those without osteoporosis (29%) had a history of at least 1 fall within the previous 12 months. There was a significant and inverse association between trunk extension strength and trunk flexion range of motion with falls. Logistic regression analyses showed that the variables associated with falls were trunk extension strength and presence of osteoporosis. Greater trunk extension strength was associated with a lower risk for falls (odds ratio, 0.97), while the presence of osteoporosis increased fall risk by a factor of 2.17.

Conclusions: A greater percentage of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis had a history of 1 or more falls within the previous year and a higher risk of recurrent falls than women without osteoporosis. Muscle strength of the lumbar spine and the presence of osteoporosis are intrinsic factors associated with the risk of falls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Lumbosacral Region / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance / physiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology