Osteoporotic fractures are fractures that occur as a result of decreased bone mass and bone density, which can lead to weakened bones. Osteoporotic fractures can occur in any bone, but are most common in the hip, spine, and wrist. These fractures can have serious consequences, including chronic pain, disability, and loss of independence.
Causes of Osteoporotic Fractures
The primary cause of osteoporotic fractures is age-related bone loss, which occurs due to a gradual loss of bone density and bone mass over time. Other factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporotic fractures include:
Gender: Women are at a higher risk of developing osteoporotic fractures than men, as they typically have lower bone density, to begin with, and can experience a more rapid loss of bone density during menopause.
Genetics: A family history of osteoporosis or fractures can increase an individual’s risk of developing osteoporotic fractures.
Certain medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperparathyroidism, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic kidney disease, can increase an individual’s risk of developing osteoporotic fractures.
Medications: Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids (steroids), can contribute to the development of osteoporotic fractures.
Lifestyle factors: Certain lifestyle factors, such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and a sedentary lifestyle, can increase an individual’s risk of developing osteoporotic fractures.
Signs and Symptoms of Osteoporotic Fractures
Osteoporotic fractures can cause a range of signs and symptoms, which can vary depending on the location and severity of the fracture. Some common signs and symptoms of osteoporotic fractures include:
- Pain: Osteoporotic fractures can cause moderate to severe pain, which may be felt in the area of the fracture or may radiate to other parts of the body.
- Limited range of motion: Fractures in weight-bearing bones, such as the hip, can cause a limited range of motion and difficulty walking or standing.
- Deformity: In some cases, osteoporotic fractures can cause a visible deformity, such as a hunched posture or a leg that appears shorter than the other.
- Swelling and bruising: Osteoporotic fractures can cause swelling and bruising in the affected area.
- Reduced mobility and independence: Osteoporotic fractures can lead to reduced mobility and independence, which can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life.
Treatment for Osteoporotic Fractures
Physiotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of osteoporotic fractures. The goals of physiotherapy for osteoporotic fractures include reducing pain, promoting healing, and restoring mobility and strength.
Pain management: Physiotherapy can help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with osteoporotic fractures through the use of modalities such as heat, ice, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.
Range of motion exercises: Gentle range of motion exercises can help to maintain joint mobility and prevent stiffness following an osteoporotic fracture.
Strengthening exercises: Once the fracture has started to heal, exercises to strengthen the affected area can help to restore strength and improve overall function.
Weight-bearing exercises: Weight-bearing exercises can help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of future fractures.
Balance and coordination training: Osteoporotic fractures can increase the risk of falls, so balance and coordination training can help to reduce the risk of future fractures.
Education: Physiotherapists can provide education on proper body mechanics, fall prevention, and other strategies to reduce the risk of future fractures.
It is important to note that the specific treatment plan will depend on the location and severity of the fracture, as well as other individual factors. A physiotherapist can work with an individual to develop a personalized treatment plan based on their specific needs and goals.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about osteoporotic fractures please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Yamazaki, S., Ichimura, S., Ito, T., Kato, Y., Kurabayashi, H., & Kawai, K. (2021). The effect of physiotherapy and occupational therapy on physical function and quality of life after hip fracture: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics