Fragility fracture

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 20 Aug 2020

Fragility fractures are the result of forces that would not fracture a normal bone and are almost entirely seen in patients with osteoporosis. They can occur in the context of a single event of very low energy (i.e. minimal) trauma such as falling from standing height, or they may be no identifiable preceding trauma.

Insufficiency fractures, on the other hand, are fractures due to multiple minor events causing a cumulative load on weakened osteoporotic bone.


Fragility fractures occur in bones that have reduced compressive and/or torsional strength 1, and occur especially in the context of osteoporosis.


Common sites include 2:

  • lumbosacral spine
  • distal radius
  • hip
  • proximal humerus

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