Individuals who have spinal fractures may be at a greater risk for hip bone breaks

At the 2010 Annual Congress of the Spine Society of Europe, researchers from Helsinki University Central Hospital in Finland explained the results of a study they conducted on bone fractures. Their research concluded that a vertebral fracture that substantially reduces body height should alert orthopedic surgeons of a patient's risk for a hip fracture.

Ville Puisto and colleagues from Helsinki University Central Hospital researched the possible relationship between the two types of fractures. Investigators used a Mini-Finland Health Survey conducted from 1978 to 1980, which involved 7,095 men and women over the age of 30 years. The investigators also looked at the chest x-rays all patients had as part of their participation in the Mini-Finland Health Survey. They used Finland's National Hospital Discharge Register to identify which patients were hospitalized through the end of 1994 for a primary hip fracture.

The surveyed group sustained 169 hip fractures, and investigators then matched them each with Genant's numeric classification of vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) as mild to severe. Based on fracture grades, severe VCFs strongly predicted hip fractures; however, milder VCFs were less of a predictor of hip fracture risk.

Vertebral fractures may initially be felt or seen in the form of severe back pain, loss of height or spinal deformities, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.