SSM Health Medical Minute – Wrist fractures in the elderly increases risk for future injuries

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LAKE ST. LOUIS, Mo. - According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, elderly patients suffering a low energy wrist fracture are more likely to have difficulties with balance, placing them at higher risk for future injuries.

Wrist fractures constitute one-sixth of all broken bones presented in U.S. emergency departments and occur in 15 percent of women age 50 and older. The majority of these fractures are the result of a fall from a standing position.

Dr. Anita Sadhu, a hand surgeon at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital in Lake St. Louis, says there are two things that cause injuries in people over 60.

"One is that patients over 60 are more likely to have osteoporosis and the other things is they are more prone to low energy falls than a younger person,” she said.

Out of all fractures over the age of 60, almost 20 percent are wrist fractures. A high energy fall would be a fall from a height or car accident. A low energy fall would be a fall from a standing position such as walking down the steps and falling.

“During the winter months, when it is icy and rainy, we see a lot more wrist fractures than usual,” Dr. Sadhu said.

If you have osteoporosis you are at higher risk for damaging yourself during a fall.

Women are much more vulnerable than men because of the propensity for low bone density. Men have the same risk of falls but are less likely to be injured.

To learn more about orthopedic services offered at SSM Health, click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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