Surge in hip fractures following COVID-19 lockdown

Two women holding a walking frame
July 27, 2020

Older West Australians are being encouraged to keep active to avoid a fall following a surge in hip fractures in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In June alone, 68 patients were admitted to Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) with hip fractures - 30 more than the same time the previous year.

FSH Consultant Geriatrician, Dr Hannah Seymour, said there had been an increasing trend of hip fractures in older people following the COVID-19 lockdown.

“These are the highest numbers we’ve ever seen, with June our busiest month on record,” she said.

“As people were encouraged to stay in their homes during lockdown earlier this year, we are seeing an increase of older people having falls once normal activities could resume.”

“We think this is due to weakened muscles and loss of strength as they had been sedentary for much longer periods than normal.”

Mandurah grandmother Margaret Jamieson was getting in to the shower when she fell and shattered her hip.

“I needed a complete hip reconstruction - it was a big shock,” Margaret said.

“I’m normally pretty active at home either gardening or walking my dogs but we definitely changed our daily habits during the lockdown.”

The good news is FSH is one of the best performing hospitals in Australia when it comes to the treatment of hip fractures.

For 72 year old Margaret, this meant she was admitted on a Thursday night, had her operation on the Friday and was out of bed using a frame and ready for discharge by the Monday.

“I couldn’t fault anything with the service I received in hospital.”

Dr Seymour said these great results are achieved due to the hard work of the teams at Fiona Stanley, Fremantle and Rockingham General Hospitals, from the Emergency Department, theatres, and wards to the rehabilitation to get patients back on their feet.

“It’s so important for older people to get moving and keep moving, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day,” she said.

“We really need older West Australians to do everything they can to stay fit and well, particularly given the uncertainty of what might lie ahead with COVID-19.”

For more information including tips, brochures and videos on staying active, visit Stay On Your Feet (external site).