Rising incidence of stair-related upper extremity fractures among older adults in the United States: a 10-year nationwide analysis

Rafat H. Solaiman, Eesha A Irfanullah, Sergio M Navarro, Evan J. Keil, Naoko Onizuka, Marc A. Tompkins, James V Harmon

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1 Scopus citations


Summary: Upper extremity (UE) fractures are prevalent age-related fractures, and stair-associated falls are a common mechanism for these injuries. Our study has identified an increasing incidence of stair-related UE fractures and associated hospitalization rates among the older United States population between 2012–2021. Targeted prevention efforts should be implemented by health systems. Introduction: To analyze United States (US) emergency department trends in upper extremity stair-related fractures among older adults and investigate risk factors associated with hospitalization. Methods: We queried the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) for all stair-related fracture injuries between 2012 and 2021 among adults 65 years or older. The US Census Bureau International Database (IDB) was analyzed to calculate incidence rates. Descriptive analysis, linear regression analysis, and multivariate regression analysis were used to interpret the collected data. Results: Our analysis estimated 251,041 (95% CI: 211,678–290,404) upper extremity stair-related fractures among older adults occurred between 2012 and 2021. The primary anatomical locations were the humeral shaft (27%), wrist (26%), and proximal humerus (18%). We found a 56% increase in injuries (R2 = 0.77, p < 0.001), 7% increase in incidence per 100,000 persons (R2 = 0.42, p < 0.05), and an 38% increase in hospitalization rate (R2 = 0.61, p < 0.01) during the 10-year study period. Women sustained the majority of fractures (76%) and most injuries occurred in homes (89%). Advanced age (p < 0.0001), males (p < 0.0001), proximal humerus fractures (p < 0.0001), humeral shaft fractures (p < 0.0001), and elbow fractures (p < 0.0001) were associated with increased odds of hospitalization after injury. Conclusion: Stair-related UE fracture injuries, incidence, and hospitalization rates among older adults are increasing significantly, particularly among older females. Improving bone health, optimizing functional muscle mass, and “fall-proofing” homes of older age groups may help mitigate the rising incidence of these injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1248
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, International Osteoporosis Foundation and Bone Health and Osteoporosis Foundation.


  • Epidemiology
  • Fragility fracture
  • Older age
  • Stair
  • Upper extremity

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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