Osteoporosis International

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 69–76

Disability after clinical fracture in postmenopausal women with low bone density: the fracture intervention trial (FIT)


  • H.A. Fink
    • Medical Center, One Veterans Drive, Box 11G, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA Tel.:+1 (612) 7252000, ext 3304. Fax:+1 (612) 7252084 e-mail: howard.fink@med.va.gov
  • K.E. Ensrud
    • Section of General Internal Medicine, Minneapolis
  • D.B. Nelson
    • Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research, VA Medical Center, Minneapolis
  • R.P. Kerani(formerly Pieper)
    • Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle
  • P.J. Schreiner
    • Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
  • Y. Zhao
    • Division of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA
  • S.R. Cummings
    • (for the Fracture Intervention Trial Research Group) Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, San Francisco
  • M.C. Nevitt
    • (for the Fracture Intervention Trial Research Group) Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, San Francisco

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-002-1314-y

Cite this article as:
Fink, H., Ensrud, K., Nelson, D. et al. Osteoporos Int (2003) 14: 69. doi:10.1007/s00198-002-1314-y


 Relatively little is known about outcomes following clinical osteoporotic fractures at nonhip, nonvertebral skeletal sites. To address this issue, we prospectively assessed post-fracture disability at multiple skeletal sites in a population of 909 older (aged 55–81 years), community-dwelling women with low femoral neck bone mineral density who had experienced a fracture while enrolled in the Fracture Intervention Trial (FIT). FIT is a randomized, double-masked, placebo-controlled trial that was designed to determine the effect of alendronate on fracture incidence, and the current study was conducted as a secondary analysis of FIT data. Following incident clinical fractures, FIT participants were followed prospectively for assessment of site-specific, fracture-related disability. Measures of disability were self-reported days hospitalized or confined to bed because of the fracture (`bed days') and days of reduced usual activities because of the fracture (`limited activity days'). Of fracture types evaluated, those of the hip resulted in the highest percentage of subjects with any bed days or limited activity days after fracture (94% with any bed days and 100% with any limited activity days), though the mean number of bed days and limited activity days appeared highest after lumbar vertebral fractures (25.8 mean bed days and 158.5 mean limited activity days). Substantial disability also was reported after fractures of thoracic vertebrae, humerus, distal forearm, ankle and foot. Within fracture types, post-fracture disability was highly variable, ranging from none to more than 6 months.

Keywords DisabilityFracturesPostmenopausal osteoporosis

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© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2003