Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery

, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 59–67 | Cite as

Urinary incontinence and poor functional status in fragility fracture patients: an underrecognized and underappreciated association

  • M. GoschEmail author
  • H. Talasz
  • J. A. Nicholas
  • C. Kammerlander
  • M. Lechleitner
Trauma Surgery



Urinary incontinence (UI) affects some 20 % of community-dwelling older people and 30–60 % of people in institutional care. UI is known as an independent predictor of falls, and likely impacts fracture rates. The aim of the study was to measure the prevalence of UI in a typical fragility fracture population, to evaluate the relationship of UI with functional disability in the post-acute setting.


Our study is a retrospective cross-sectional study of patients admitted to rehabilitation setting after inpatient hospital management for a fragility fracture. We included all consecutively admitted fragility fracture patients aged over 65. All patients underwent standard clinical examination and Geriatric Assessment. We assessed UI using a two-stage process with a six-item UI screening questionnaire followed by an interview.


1,857 (80.7 % female) patients were available for analysis, mean age was 81.7 years. UI was identified in 59.2 % of all fragility fracture patients, and was more prevalent in females. Patients suffering from UI differed significantly in almost all measured functional and cognitive tests, with increased dependency/lower ADL scores, increased rates of immobility, and higher rates of cognitive dysfunction and depression.


This study confirms the high prevalence of UI in older fragility fracture patients, and the association between UI and functional impairments. The diagnostic work-up and treatment of patients should be focused on the special needs of these older patients. More efforts are needed to increase awareness about prevalence and consequences of UI among older fragility fracture patients.


Fragility fracture Urinary incontinence Disability Older Geriatric assessment 


Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gosch
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Talasz
    • 2
  • J. A. Nicholas
    • 3
  • C. Kammerlander
    • 4
  • M. Lechleitner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Internal Medicine 2, Geriatric MedicineKlinikum Nürnberg, Paracelsus Private Medical UniversityNurembergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Geriatrics and Internal MedicineHospital HochzirlZirlAustria
  3. 3.Rochester Division of GeriatricsUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Department of TraumatologyMedical University of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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