Hip fracture is one of the severest consequences of osteoporosis affecting elderly women, but abnormalities of bone turnover responsible for bone loss have not been clearly defined. This study evaluated the relationship of bone turnover parameters to hip fracture in postmenopausal elderly women. We also investigated the effects of endogenous hormones and vitamin D deficiency on osteoporotic hip fracture. The subjects were 21 osteoporotic patients with hip fracture (study group) and 20 healthy postmenopausal women (control group). We measured osteocalcin levels, total and bone alkaline phosphatase (T-ALP and B-ALP), calcitonin, intact parathyroid hormone (iPTH), serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (250HD), urinary free deoxypyridinoline (D-pyr) and cross-linked N-telopeptides of type 1 collagen (NTx) levels. Serum T-ALP and B-ALP levels in the study group were lower than those of the control group. The mean serum 250HD levels in the study group were not significantly different from the control group, but in five cases the mean serum iPTH level was increased. The mean urinary NTx levels were significantly increased in the study group compared with the control group (p<0.05). There was no significant increase in urinary free D-pyr between the two groups. There was significant correlation between serum T ALP levels and B-ALP levels and between serum iPTH levels and B-ALP levels. The mean serum SHBG level in the study group was higher than in the control group (p<0.05). These data suggest that postmenopausal hip fracture patients have biochemical evidence of decreased bone formation and increased bone resorption compared with postmenopausal healthy subjects. We suggest these abnormalities play a role in the decrease of bone mass and the consequent increase in bone fragility that characterises osteoporotic hip fracture.