The circumstances, orientations, and impact locations of falls in community-dwelling older women

Jeremy R. Crenshaw, Kathie A. Bernhardt, Sara J. Achenbach, Elizabeth J. Atkinson, Sundeep Khosla, Kenton R. Kaufman, Shreyasee Amin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective We sought to characterize the circumstances, orientations, and impact locations of falls in community-dwelling, ambulatory, older women. Methods For this longitudinal, observational study, 125 community-dwelling women age ≥ 65 years were recruited. Over 12-months of follow-up, fall details were recorded using twice-monthly questionnaires. Results More than half (59%) of participants fell, with 30% of participants falling more than once (fall rate = 1.3 falls per person-year). Slips (22%) and trips (33%) accounted for the majority of falls. Approximately 44% of falls were forward in direction, while backward falls accounted for 41% of falls. About a third of all falls were reported to have lateral (sideways) motion. Subjects reported taking a protective step in response to 82% of forward falls and 37% of backward falls. Of falls reporting lateral motion, a protective step was attempted in 70% of accounts. Common impact locations included the hip/pelvis (47% of falls) and the hand/wrist (27%). Backwards falls were most commonly reported with slips and when changing direction, and increased the risk of hip/pelvis impact (OR = 12.6; 95% CI: 4.7–33.8). Forward falls were most commonly reported with trips and while hurrying, and increased the risk of impact to the hand/wrist (OR = 2.6; 95% CI: 1.2–5.9). Conclusion Falls in older ambulatory women occur more frequently than previously reported, with the fall circumstance and direction dictating impact to common fracture locations. Stepping was a common protective recovery strategy and that may serve as an appropriate focus of interventions to reduce falls in this high risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2017

Keywords

  • Balance
  • Fracture
  • Injury
  • SAFER
  • Slips
  • Trips

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Aging
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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