Archives of Osteoporosis

, 10:2 | Cite as

Epidemiology of proximal humerus fractures

  • Antti P. LaunonenEmail author
  • Vesa Lepola
  • Aino Saranko
  • Tapio Flinkkilä
  • Minna Laitinen
  • Ville M. Mattila
Original Article



There are only a few previous population-based studies that include both inpatient and outpatient treatment data. The aim of this study was to investigate the epidemiology of proximal humerus fractures. The incidence of proximal humerus fractures increases with age, and we observe a seasonal variation strongly favoring winter months.


Proximal humerus fractures are the third most common osteoporotic fracture type observed in elderly patients, after wrist and hip fractures. However, few previous population-based studies include both inpatient and outpatient treatment data. The aim of this study was to investigate the incidence, fracture morphology, and treatment method provided in cases of proximal humerus fractures.


We retrospectively studied patient records from a mid-sized town in Finland between the years 2006 and 2010. The following data were collected from the medical records: age, sex, date of the fracture, laterality of the fracture, mechanism of injury, treatment method, and other associated fractures at the time of the original injury. Sex and age distributions of the patient population at risk (>18 years old) were calculated for the study period.


A total of 678 patients (females n = 503, 73 %) with 692 proximal humerus fractures were identified. The unadjusted incidence was 82 (95 % CI 76 to 88) per 100,000 person-years, 114 (95 % CI 104 to 124), and 47 (95 % CI 41 to 54) per 100,000 person-years in females and males, respectively. Incidence increased toward the older age groups. Clear seasonal variation was observed, two-part fractures were most common (428, 62 %), the majority of the fractures (n = 539, 78 %) were treated nonoperatively with a sling.


The incidence of proximal humerus fractures increases with age, and we observe a seasonal variation strongly favoring winter months. It is evident that proximal humerus fractures cause considerable morbidity among elderly people and consume health care resources.


Epidemiology Proximal Humerus Fracture 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antti P. Launonen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vesa Lepola
    • 1
  • Aino Saranko
    • 1
  • Tapio Flinkkilä
    • 2
  • Minna Laitinen
    • 1
  • Ville M. Mattila
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of OrthopaedicsTampere University HospitalTampereFinland
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma SurgeryOulu University HospitalOuluFinland

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