Fracture Epidemiology

Fragility fractures are common; 1 in 2 women over 50 years of age will suffer one, as will 1 in 5 men. Globally, during year 2000, there were an estimated 9 million new fragility fractures, of which 1.6 million were at the hip, 1.7 million at the wrist, 0.7 million at the humerus and 1.4 million symptomatic vertebral fractures. As shown in the table below, Europe and the Americas accounted for half of all these fractures, while most of the remainder occurred in the Western Pacific region and Southeast Asia.

Estimated number of fractures (in thousands) at the sites shown in men and women aged 50 years or more in 2000 by World Health Organisation regions

Region Hip Spine Forearm Humerus Other All sites Percentage
Africa 8 12 16 6 33 75 0.8
Americas 311 214 248 111 521 1406 15.7
Southeast Asia 221 253 306 121 660 1562 17.4
Europe 620 490 574 250 119 3119 34.8
Eastern Mediterranean 35 43 52 21 109 261 2.9
Western Pacific 432 405 464 197 1039 2536 28.6
Total 1627 1416 1660 706 3550 8959 100

Fragility fractures affect the quality of life of sufferers

  • Hip fracture survivors often experience a loss in function with 40% unable to walk independently and 60% requiring assistance a year later.
  • In a year following a hip fracture, 33% are in a nursing home or totally dependent on family members or other care givers.
  • 20 – 24% of people who have had a hip fracture will die in the first year following the fracture, and many other fracture types are also associated with an increased risk of death.

​Fragility fractures impose a tremendous burden healthcare systems and national economies.

  • In 2005, IOF estimated the total direct cost of osteoporotic fractures in Europe to be 32 billion EUR per year, a figure which is projected to rise to 38.5 billion EUR by 2025.
  • In 2002, the combined cost of all osteoporotic fractures in the United States was estimated to be 20 billion USD per year.
    • A 2011 study calculated the financial burden imposed by second fractures on the United States healthcare system to be 2 billion USD.
  • In China, as the population ages, the 1.6 billion USD spent on hip fracture care in 2006 is set to rise to 12.5 billion USD by 2020 and 265 billion USD by 2050. Similar changes are projected across Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.