Impact of Aging


Lead Author(s): 

Jaimo Ahn, MD, PhD, FACS
Arvind D Nana, MD
Gudrun Mirick, MD
Anna N Miller, MD, FACS

Supporting Author(s): 

Sylvia I Watkins-Castillo, PhD

Falls are the major cause of musculoskeletal injury among the elderly, with a rate in 2015 per 1,000 persons that was more than twice that for all ages (63.6/1000 versus 29.1/1000). Falls are also a major cause of death among the oldest old, those 85 and over. (Reference Table 5B.1.6 PDF CSV)

While persons aged 65 and older account for only 14% of the total U.S. population, they represent more than one-half (53%) of patients admitted to the hospital with a musculoskeletal injury. Among the 65 and over population, fractures account for 57% of injuries with a hospital stay and 28% of emergency department visits. (Reference Table 5B.2.1 PDF CSV)

More than three out of four (77%) fractures of the neck of femur, commonly known as a hip fracture, were treated for persons age 65 and over in 2013. Fractures of the humerus (upper arm) were also highest among the 65+ population, with 40% treated in this age group. (Reference Table 5B.2.2 PDF CSV)

In 2013, the proportion of hospital discharge patients age 65 and over with a musculoskeletal injury who were transferred to a skilled nursing, intermediate care or other long-term care facility was nearly three in four (71%). This compares to 48% of fracture patients among all ages, and only 14% for all ages, all diagnoses. Another 10% are discharged with home healthcare. (Reference Table 5B.4.2 PDF CSV)

With current average life expectancies of persons in their 40s, 50s, and 60s in the United States well beyond the age of 80, the risk of incurring a musculoskeletal injury, and, in particular, a fracture, is significant.


  • Fourth Edition

Chapter Graphs

To save an individual graph, right-click and select Save Image As

Topic Tables

Click on an image to view PDF