Your likelihood of a fracture due to a fall depends on three primary components. Each of these components makes up a leg of the Fracture Triangle.
The three components are fragility of your bones, the fall itself and the force and direction of the fall. If you can modify even one of these components, it decreases your risk for a fracture.
The fragility of bones
The more fragile your bones are, the less force is necessary to fracture them. The fragility of your bones can change over time due to a number of factors. Osteoporosis is a degenerative condition that results in bone fragility with age. However, there are also genetic conditions that can weaken your bones. Depending on the condition, the onset may be early or late. You can ask your doctor for suggestions on how to increase bone strength. He or she may suggest exercising several times a week and consuming adequate vitamin D and calcium.
The fall itself
If you do not fall in the first place, the chance of a resultant fracture reduces down to zero. Common causes of falls include tripping over uneven surfaces or losing traction on slippery ground. You may be able to mitigate these factors on your own property, but you have less control over other people’s premises. However, you can reduce your fall risk generally by doing exercises to improve your balance and strength. Obtain maximum vision correction so you can identify and avoid potential fall hazards.
The force and direction
The force of a fall refers to how hard you land. There is more risk of a fracture with a greater force, but landing on a softer surface can reduce it. If you cannot reduce the force, you may be able to redirect it. For example, grabbing a fixed object to slow your fall can reduce the risk of a hip fracture. You may still break your arm or wrist, but these fractures are less risky than a fracture of the hip.
Depending on the cause of the fall, you may be likely to fall in a certain direction, whether forward, backward or to the side. Each direction carries with it a risk of particular fractures. For example, hip fractures are more likely from a sideways fall.