Skip to main content

Hip fractures in older adults in Ontario, Canada—monthly variation, insights, and implications

Clemens KK, Ouedraogo A, Speechley M, Richard L, Thain J, Shariff SZ. Can Geriatr J. 2019; 22(3):148-64. Epub 2019 Aug 1.


Background — In older adults, hip fractures have been described to peak in cooler months. Seasonal differences in patient vulnerability to fracture and social/behavioural factors might contribute to these trends.

Methods — Using linked health-care databases in Ontario Canada, we examined monthly variation in hip fracture hospitalizations in those > 65 years (2011–2015). We stratified results by age category (66-79, ≥80 years). We then examined for variation in the demographic and comorbidity profiles of patients across the months, and as an index of contributing social/behavioural factors, noted variation in health-care behaviours.

Results — There were 47,971 and 52,088 hospitalizations for hip fracture in those 66–79, and ≥80 years, respectively. There was strong seasonality in fractures in both groups. Peaks occurred in October and December when patients appeared most vulnerable. Rates fell in the summer in those 66-79 years, and in the late winter in those ≥80 years (when health-care utilization also declined). A smaller peak in fractures occurred in May in both groups.

Conclusions — Hip fractures peak in the autumn, early winter, and spring in Canada. A dip in fractures occurs in the late winter in the oldest old. Environmental factors might play a role, but seasonal vulnerability to fracture and winter isolation might also be influential.

View full text

×