Wrist fractures have an important impact on personal and public health and contribute to functional decline in older women, according to the findings of a recent analysis of women enrolled in the Study of Osteoporotic Fractures. Over an average of 7.6 years of follow-up, 268 of 6,107 women aged 65 years and older suffered their first wrist fracture, with 15% (41) developing clinically important functional decline (a deterioration of five points in five activities of daily living).

Compared with no wrist fracture, having such an injury increased the odds of functional decline by 48%, even after adjustment for age, BMI, health status, baseline functional status, lifestyle factors, comorbidities, and neuromuscular function. The effect of wrist fracture on functional decline is as clinically significant as falls, diabetes, arthritis, and other established risk factors.

“Wrist fractures are common and result in clinically important functional decline in women who are fairly healthy and physically fit,” the online BMJ report concluded. “Because of the magnitude of the problem and the consequences of the complications, greater public health awareness of the impact of osteoporotic wrist fractures is needed.”