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 is another reason. While men can develop weak bones that break, women are more likely to have fractures from osteoporosis.  Women have smaller bony frames 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.

Did one of your parents have a hip fracture?

Have you had a fracture since age 40?

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

Do you have low bone density?

Do you have rheumatoid arthritis or another condition that leads to bone loss?

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

A broken bone is called a fracture and if it occurs during these events, it may be a warning sign of osteoporosis:

  • trip, slip or have a minor fall
  • pick up a child or an object
  • make a bed
  • cough or sneeze
  • do a simple task
  • rolling out of a bed
  • fall off a toilet or chair


  • 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.