Hip fractures in young patients: is this early osteoporosis?

Calcif Tissue Int. 1990 Feb;46(2):65-72. doi: 10.1007/BF02556089.


Hip fracture in patients under age 50 is rare, and is often not attributable solely to the energy of injury. Our aim was to determine if trabecular bone mineral density (BMD) is abnormal in young patients with hip fractures. We reviewed all hip fractures treated at our institution between 1979 and 1986 and contacted 20 patients under the age of 50 at the time of injury, all of whom wished to be studied. The mean age at the time of injury was 39 (range 24-47). Subjects were questioned for osteoporosis risk factors, classified by level of energy producing their injury, and then underwent quantitative computed tomography (QCT) bone densitometry of trabecular bone in the lumbar spine. Bone mineral density by QCT was below the mean for age in 90% of the patients, and was greater than 1 SD below the mean in 75%. Mean percentage BMD decrease from age-matched controls was 34% (P less than 0.005) in women and 19% (P less than 0.005) in men. There was an inverse correlation in the degree of BMD decrease and the energy level of injury. There was a direct correlation of the severity of BMD decrease and the cumulative number of osteoporosis risk factors. This investigation has found that 1-7 years following hip fracture, otherwise presumedly healthy young patients demonstrate a statistically significant decrease in spinal BMD from age/sex-matched controls. These data do not determine if osteopenia is the cause or the result of injury, nor do we wish to infer that measurement of bone density at one site can predict future fractures at other sites.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Hip Fractures / etiology*
  • Hip Fractures / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / complications*
  • Osteoporosis / pathology
  • Risk Factors