Almost six out of 10 hospital admissions for a fractured bone are due to people falling while 4% are due to assault, figures show.

Data from the NHS Information Centre for England revealed that falls accounted for 57% of admissions for serious fractures in 2009-10.

This amounts to 196,052 admissions, with more than one in three relating to elderly patients aged 80 or over and 79% involving women.

One in 12 admissions were due to transport accidents, and 37% of these occurred in the 17 to 39 age group. Men accounted for 76% of broken bones in this group.

Overall, 4% of admissions for fractures were due to assault, of which almost three-quarters were among those aged 17 to 39. Men accounted for just over nine out of 10 (91%) of these cases.

The most common form of fracture was of the thigh bone (femur), which accounted almost a quarter of admissions.

In 2009-10 there were 343,536 admissions for fractures, accounting for 2.4% of all admissions to hospital.

Experts said the previous year’s figures showed a similar pattern, with 2.3% of admissions due to fractures.

NHS Information Centre chief executive, Tim Straughan, said: “Falls are the cause of more than half of all hospital admissions for fractures and although provisional, this data will help the NHS understand the reasons for admissions due to fractures and plan the use of resources accordingly.

“These figures represent the most serious of fractures, as there will of course be a number of patients who attend accident and emergency but are not admitted to hospital.”