Falls and Fractures

Why are older people more prone to falls and fractures?

Generally, older people are more prone to falling due to the general wear of their bodies over many years. Apart from pain and discomfort, sudden falls can cause psychological and social distress.

Most adults over sixty are at increased risk of falling. Unfortunately, sudden falls can lead to hip fractures, which are common in women. About eighteen per cent of women are susceptible to hip fractures. However, only six per cent of men are prone to hip fractures. In addition, osteoporosis, a condition that causes a severe decline in bone health, increases the risk of fractures.

What are the signs of a fracture?

Signs of a geriatric fracture include the following:

  • Immediate pain
  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Trouble moving the region where the break occurs
  • Pain travelling down the leg
  • Thigh, hip and groin pain
  • Redness over the area
  • Bruising
  • Physical alterations (for example, one limb is shorter than the other).

How do you treat fractures and prevent falls among the elderly?

Treatment for geriatric fractures depends on the type of fracture and the severity of the break. Geriatric fractures require immediate care to prevent complications from arising. Typically, treatment for senior fractures involves applying a splint or cast and prescribing pain medication to relieve discomfort and traction, which entails stretching parts of the body to pull portions of the body in a specific direction.

You are strongly advised to attend regular consultations with your geriatrician to ensure you are not at risk of a fracture. Poor bone density is a significant risk factor that makes you more susceptible to fractures. Normally, doctors screen for osteoporosis using a DXA scan which utilises low x-ray energy to examine the mineral content in bones. Usually, a bone density scan is used to trace the bone density in the hip and spine, vulnerable areas for most women sixty-five and over.


How can you prevent an older person from falling?

A geriatrician will encourage the elderly to remain active by engaging in strength training exercises. In addition, it helps to get your hearing and eyesight tested timeously.

What causes sudden falls?

Weakness in the legs, problems with balance, fainting, lethargy, foot pain and abnormalities affecting the structure of the foot increase the risk of unexpected falls.

What can I use in the house to prevent unexpected falls?

You must mop spillage, unclutter the house and utilise non-slip rugs or mats. It is strongly advised that all walkways remain well-lit so you can see optimally.