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To reduce the burden of fracture, not only does bone fragility need to be addressed, but also injury prevention. Thus, fracture epidemiology irrespective of degree of trauma is informative. We aimed to determine age-and-sex-specific fracture incidence rates for the Barwon Statistical Division, Australia, 2006–2007. Using radiology reports, incident fractures were identified for 5342 males and 4512 females, with incidence of 210.4 (95 % CI 204.8, 216.2) and 160.0 (155.3, 164.7)/10,000/year, respectively. In females, spine (clinical vertebral), hip (proximal femoral) and distal forearm fractures demonstrated a pattern of stable incidence through early adult life, with an exponential increase beginning in postmenopausal years for fractures of the forearm followed by spine and hip. A similar pattern was observed for the pelvis, humerus, femur and patella. Distal forearm, humerus, other forearm and ankle fractures showed incidence peaks during childhood and adolescence. For males, age-related changes mimicked the female pattern for fractures of the spine, hip, ribs, pelvis and humerus. Incidence at these sites was generally lower for males, particularly among the elderly. A similar childhood-adolescent peak was seen for the distal forearm and humerus. For ankle fractures, there was an increase during childhood and adolescence but this extended into early adult life; in contrast to females, there were no further age-related increases. An adolescent-young adult peak incidence was observed for fractures of the face, clavicle, carpal bones, hand, fingers, foot and toe, without further age-related increases. Examining patterns of fracture provides the evidence base for monitoring temporal changes in fracture burden, and for identifying high-incidence groups to which fracture prevention strategies could be directed.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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