Open Access Research article

Evaluation of easily measured risk factors in the prediction of osteoporotic fractures

Robert Bensen1*, Jonathan D Adachi2, Alexandra Papaioannou2, George Ioannidis1, Wojciech P Olszynski3, Rolf J Sebaldt2, Timothy M Murray4, Robert G Josse4, Jacques P Brown5, David A Hanley6, Annie Petrie1, Mark Puglia2, Charlie H Goldsmith1 and W Bensen2

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

2 Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

3 Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

4 Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

5 Medicine, Laval University, Ste-Foy, Quebec, Canada

6 Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2005, 6:47  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-6-47

Published: 5 September 2005



Fracture represents the single most important clinical event in patients with osteoporosis, yet remains under-predicted. As few premonitory symptoms for fracture exist, it is of critical importance that physicians effectively and efficiently identify individuals at increased fracture risk.


Of 3426 postmenopausal women in CANDOO, 40, 158, 99, and 64 women developed a new hip, vertebral, wrist or rib fracture, respectively. Seven easily measured risk factors predictive of fracture in research trials were examined in clinical practice including: age (<65, 65–69, 70–74, 75–79, 80+ years), rising from a chair with arms (yes, no), weight (< 57, ≥ 57kg), maternal history of hip facture (yes, no), prior fracture after age 50 (yes, no), hip T-score (>-1, -1 to >-2.5, ≤-2.5), and current smoking status (yes, no). Multivariable logistic regression analysis was conducted.


The inability to rise from a chair without the use of arms (3.58; 95% CI: 1.17, 10.93) was the most significant risk factor for new hip fracture. Notable risk factors for predicting new vertebral fractures were: low body weight (1.57; 95% CI: 1.04, 2.37), current smoking (1.95; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.18) and age between 75–79 years (1.96; 95% CI: 1.10, 3.51). New wrist fractures were significantly identified by low body weight (1.71, 95% CI: 1.01, 2.90) and prior fracture after 50 years (1.96; 95% CI: 1.19, 3.22). Predictors of new rib fractures include a maternal history of a hip facture (2.89; 95% CI: 1.04, 8.08) and a prior fracture after 50 years (2.16; 95% CI: 1.20, 3.87).


This study has shown that there exists a variety of predictors of future fracture, besides BMD, that can be easily assessed by a physician. The significance of each variable depends on the site of incident fracture. Of greatest interest is that an inability to rise from a chair is perhaps the most readily identifiable significant risk factor for hip fracture and can be easily incorporated into routine clinical practice.