New research reveals that most hip fractures occur in the spring in women over the age of 55. Falls are the leading cause of these fractures in post-menopausal women, emphasizing the need for counseling to reduce the risk of falling both inside and outside the home.
As published In the current issue of the National Osteoporosis Foundation Report (April 2014), a group of researchers examined fracture data from 60,000 post-menopausal women from the US, Canada, Australia and seven European countries. They found that only hip fractures showed a seasonal variation, with the majority occurring in the spring. The main cause was falls resulting from slipping or tripping, both inside (52%) and outside (48%) the home.
One contributing factor could be lower levels of Vitamin D due to reduced exposure to sunlight over the winter which manifest in spring, however this was not studied. In addition to adequate Vitamin D, we need enough calcium to mineralize the bones. Due to conflicting results of several major studies regarding calcium supplementation, experts recommend that the safest and most effective source of calcium is found in food choices, not supplements, and that exercise is key to bone health, specifically weight bearing and strength training exercise.
For more on the calcium controversy and types of exercise beneficial to the bones, please refer to this previous blog post.