Osteoporotic hip fracture is associated with high mortality and morbidity and often results in a loss of mobility and independence. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by measuring Bone Mineral Density (BMD), a measure of the amount of mineral in a bone. Although BMD continues to serve well it does not fully account for bone strength and only partially accounts for the risk of hip fracture. The shape and structure of the proximal femur also help to determine how forces act in the hip in a fall and their measurement can aid the prediction of hip fracture. This review examines the link between simple geometrical measures of the proximal femur and hip fracture, or bone strength. It will explore how they relate to each other and to anthropometric factors such as sex, height, weight and age. Limitations in these measures will be identified and new methods of analysis reviewed that encompass many different aspects of the shape of the femur. These new methods show great promise for improving the prediction of fracture risk in the future. © 2008 IPEM.
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