Peer Reviewed

Bone fractures

Recurring Bone Fracture Is Common in Postmenopausal Women

Initial bone fractures in postmenopausal women, regardless of location, increases the risk for subsequent fractures, according to the results of a recent study.

A prospective analysis was conducted to better understand the relationship between the locations of initial and subsequent fractures in this patient population. The researchers utilized data from the Women’s Health Initiative from 1993 to 2018 including 157,282 participants. All participants were postmenopausal women with a baseline age between 50 and 79 years. Of the total participants, 47,458 reported incident fracture. Age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and other covariates were considered.

The results indicated that after each type of initial fracture, the risk of each type of subsequent fracture increased. Specifically, an initial lower arm/wrist fracture was associated with significantly increased risk of subsequent fractures in the upper arm/shoulder, upper leg, knee, lower leg/ankle, hip/pelvic, and spine.

Further, hip fracture risk was heightened in those with initial lower arm, upper arm, shoulder, upper leg, knee, lower leg/ankle, and spine fracture. 

These findings were consistent across all age groups included in the study, but were more evident in non-Hispanic Black, Hispanic/Latina, and Asian/Pacific Islander women when compared to non-Hispanic White women.

“Increased risk of subsequent fracture is observed for all fracture types across all ages,” the researchers concluded. “Women who experience any of these fractures should be targeted for interventions to prevent subsequent fractures.”


—Leigh Precopio



Crandall CJ, Hunt RP, LaCroix AZ, et al. After the initial fracture in postmenopausal women, where do subsequent fractures occur? EClinicalMedicine. Published online May 5, 2021.