Hip fracture - Causes 

Causes of a hip fracture 

Most hip fractures in older people are the result of falls, often at home.

Around three out of 10 people 65 years of age or over will have at least one fall a year. Half of all people 80 or over will have at least one fall a year.

Falls are more common in older people because they are more likely to have other health problems that increase their risk of falling, such as:

  • muscle weakness
  • problems with balance
  • low blood pressure (hypotension), which can cause dizziness and fainting
  • reduced mobility (not being able to move as easily as a younger person)
  • dementia 
  • poor vision

Osteoporosis

A fall can lead to a hip fracture if bones are weak due to a condition called osteoporosis.

From about 35 years of age, you gradually lose bone density (how solid the bone is). This is a normal part of ageing, but for some people it can lead to osteoporosis.

Healthy bones are very dense, and the spaces inside the bones are small. In bone affected by osteoporosis, the spaces are larger. This makes the bones:

  • weaker
  • less elastic (flexible)
  • more likely to break

Learn more about osteoporosis.

Hip fractures in younger people

Hip fractures that occur in younger people are most often due to a serious accident, such as a fall from height or a car crash.

Page last reviewed: 06/07/2012

Next review due: 06/07/2014

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