Increasing hip fracture volume following repeated lockdowns: an Irish multicentre study of periods pre-Covid, during Covid lockdown and following vaccination

Ir J Med Sci. 2023 Apr;192(2):693-697. doi: 10.1007/s11845-022-03002-0. Epub 2022 Apr 14.


Background: Older age groups were identified as a high-risk cohort for Covid-19 and thus were a focus of lockdown measures enacted internationally. Resultant decreased social mobility and physical activity levels are associated with sarcopenia, which may lead to increased risk of hip fracture upon resuming social integration and physical activities after easing of lockdown restrictions.

Aims: Our aim was to compare the incidence of hip fractures during the period following vaccination with subsequent relaxation of restrictions, to those prior to and during the Covid pandemic.

Methods: A multicentre retrospective cohort study was performed consisting of all patients presenting with a "hip" fracture to 3 regional trauma units over the relevant time periods in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Tallaght, Galway and Waterford University Hospitals are large academic teaching hospitals with a combined mixed urban and rural catchment of over 1 million people.

Findings: Four-hundred-fourteen patients in total were included in the final analysis, with 133 eligible hip fractures observed proceeding to operative treatment across the study period in 2019, 132 in 2020 and 149 in 2021, representing a 12.88% increase. Demographic data revealed similar patient cohorts with respect to age and gender, fracture pattern and treatment.

Conclusions: An increase in hip fracture volume was observed during the period post vaccination with subsequent relaxation of restrictions and increased social mobility, compared to those prior to and during the Covid pandemic. These findings have implications for hospital planning and orthopaedic resourcing as we navigate our way forward past the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Keywords: Covid-19; Hip fracture; Lockdown; Sarcopenia; Trauma care; Vaccination.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Hip Fractures* / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Retrospective Studies