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Some Falls for the Elderly Harder Than Others

Study finds concrete floors the worst; carpeted, wooden floors the most gentle

FRIDAY, May 14, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- If you're elderly and take a spill, you have a better chance of getting back up if you fall on a carpeted, wooden floor, researchers say.

Elderly people living in residential care homes have a much lower risk of hip fracture if they fall onto a carpeted, wooden floor than onto any other type of flooring, says a study published in a recent issue of Age and Aging.

Concrete floors carried the greatest risk for fracture, according to a British research team. The conclusions were based on a study of 6,641 falls and 222 fractures that took place in 34 residential care homes.

"Contrary to our expectations, carpeting itself was not associated with a significantly lower risk of hip fracture following a fall," lead researcher Hamish Simpson, a professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Edinburgh, said in a prepared statement.

The research team concluded that if carpeted, wooden floors were used in all residential homes, the risk of breaking a hip in a fall could drop by as much as 80 percent.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about hip fractures.

SOURCES: University of Edinburgh, news release, May 2004
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