Fracture Incidence and Characteristics in Young Adults Aged 18 to 49 Years: A Population-Based Study

Joshua N. Farr, L. Joseph Melton, Sara J. Achenbach, Elizabeth J. Atkinson, Sundeep Khosla, Shreyasee Amin

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14 Scopus citations


Although fractures in both the pediatric and, especially, the elderly populations have been extensively investigated, comparatively little attention has been given to the age group in between. Thus, we used the comprehensive (inpatient and outpatient) data resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project to determine incidence rates for all fractures among young adult (age range, 18 to 49 years) residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, in 2009 to 2011, and compared the distribution of fracture sites and causes in this young adult cohort with those for older residents aged 50 years or older. During the 3-year study period, 2482 Olmsted County residents aged 18 to 49 years experienced 1 or more fractures. There were 1730 fractures among 1447 men compared with 1164 among 1035 women, and the age-adjusted incidence of all fractures was 66% greater among the men (1882 [95% confidence interval 1793–1971] versus 1135 [95% CI 1069–1201] per 100,000 person-years; p < 0.001). Of all fractures, 80% resulted from severe trauma (eg, motor vehicle accidents) compared with 33% in Olmsted County residents age ≥50 years who sustained a fracture in 2009 to 2011. Younger residents (aged 18 to 49 years), when compared with older residents (aged ≥50 years), had a greater proportion of fractures of the hands and feet (40% versus 18%) with relatively few fractures observed at traditional osteoporotic fracture sites (14% versus 43%). Vertebral fractures were still more likely to be the result of moderate trauma than at other sites, especially in younger women. In conclusion, whereas pediatric and elderly populations often fracture from no more than moderate trauma, young adults, and more commonly men, suffer fractures primarily at non-osteoporotic sites due to more significant trauma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2347-2354
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2017



ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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