Why did I break a bone from a fall, slip or trip?

Some people think their broken bone was normal – that it could happen to anyone.

Think about whether you would have broken a bone -- falling the way you did or doing what you were doing -- when you were 20 years old.

Probably not. A strong, healthy bone will not break from such a minor event. A person having a heart attack while shovelling snow will not blame the snowbank. A person who falls and breaks a bone should not blame the sidewalk.


Reasons why you might have broken a bone

There are many reasons (also known as risk factors) why you might have broken a bone. Age is one of them. Weak bones are not always part of aging but we do all start to lose bone in our mid 30s. For some people, whose bones were not strong in the first place, this can result in bones that are likely to break. Sex at birth is another reason. While men can develop weak bones that break, women are more likely to have fractures from osteoporosis. Women generally have smaller bone structures than men and during menopause the loss of estrogen can lead to bone loss.


There are some other risk factors that can contribute to bone loss and increased fracture risk. Take a look at the questions below to see if any of them apply to you.

Have you had a fracture after age 40 yrs?

Are you on a steroid like prednisone or another medication that can lead to bone loss?

Have you had more than two falls in the last year?

Did one of your parents have a hip fracture?

Do you have low bone density?

Is your Body Mass Index (BMI) less than 20 kg/m2?

Do you currently smoke?

Do you have three or more alcoholic drinks per day?

Do you have secondary osteoporosis?

Secondary Osteoporosis
is when drugs and diseases cause bone loss, falls and/or fractures.

It's not normal to break a bone falling from a standing height or lower. 

If you fracture (break a bone) during one of the following events, it may be a warning sign of osteoporosis:

  • tripping, slipping or having a minor fall
  • picking up a child or an object
  • making a bed
  • coughing or sneezing
  • rolling out of a bed
  • falling off a chair or toilet


  • Means you have thin and weak bones
  • Increases the risk of broken bones
  • Can be inherited
  • Occurs in both men and women
  • Risk of osteoporosis increases with age

Without testing and treatment, people with osteoporosis are at risk of breaking more bones.