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391: Bones

Have you ever broken a bone?

Show notes and links:

http://www.nature.com/bonekeyreports/2016/160629/bonekey201630/full/bonekey201630.html#t2

https://www.schwebel.com/userfiles/files/Fractures%281024%29.pdf

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/dear-mona-how-many-kids-break-a-bone/

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/most-broken-bones-in-a-lifetime/

 


Full episode script

Statistically, at least in the United States, you’re kind of odd if you haven’t broken a bone. Annually, about 2 percent of people break a bone, and broken bones account for around 16 percent of all musculoskeletal injuries in the United States.

I found two different sources that had two very different answers for what the most common fracture is. One source – the National Hospital Discharge survey in 2010, says that the top of the femur is the most common break, with vertebral column and ribs rounding out the top 3. However, that National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey claims that the most common fracture for everyone under the age of 75 is wrist fracture, with hip being the most common after the age of 75.

Perhaps not shockingly, finding combined worldwide statistics on broken bones in general is a bit difficult — unless you are specifically looking for information on osteoporosis and those broken hips. This is likely because a broken hip or broken bone has a much larger impact on your life the older you get, because bone density goes down and bone weakness goes up.

A study in 2015 that compared annual dairy consumption to broken hips, and per capita income to broken hips, for example, found that the US had 595 hip fractures per 100,000 people, while South Africa had 20 per 100,000 and Sweden had 802.

Then again, statistics might be just a little thrown off by some real heavy hitters — literally. Evel Knieval still holds the Guinness World Record for the most broken bones in a lifetime — at 433. Ouch.

Personally, I’m at two. A broken arm from falling off a tricycle when I was a kid and a broken foot much more recently.

Please note: This episode script may vary slightly from the actual episode transcript