Other Fractures

How common are other fractures at other sites besides the hip, spine or wrist?

In the United States, each year there are about 135,000 pelvic fractures and about 675,000 fractures at other sites. In addition to the hip, spine, wrist, and pelvis, other common sites for broken bones include the rib, ankle, foot, and arm.

What can cause a fracture?

Most fractures that occur in adulthood with minimal trauma, such as after a fall from standing height, are often a consequence of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a silent disease without symptoms. A fracture is warning sign that an individual may have low bone mass or osteoporosis.

What other broken bones (besides the hip, spine, or wrist) can happen as a result of osteoporosis?

Most broken bones in older men and women are due at least in part to having low bone mass, even when bones break as a result of significant trauma. You can break a bone in any part of your body as a result of osteoporosis with the exception of the fingers, toes, face, and skull.

If I break a bone, how do I know if I have osteoporosis?

If you have had a fracture and have not yet had a BMD (bone mineral density) test, speak to your healthcare provider about having this simple, noninvasive test. A BMD test can diagnose low bone mass or osteoporosis. Low bone mass is the single most important risk factor for fracture. A BMD test can be used by your healthcare provider to help predict your chances for fracturing in the future and to help monitor your response to treatment.

If I am diagnosed with osteoporosis, is there treatment to prevent another fracture?

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you may be more likely to break a bone. It is important to speak to your healthcare provider to determine if it is necessary to take an FDA-approved osteoporosis medication. If an osteoporosis medication is prescribed, it is important to take it as directed in order to reduce your risk for bone loss and fracture. In addition, it is always important to follow the steps to promote stronger bones.

Steps to stronger bones:

Eat a variety of healthy (nutrient-rich) foods. Make half your plate vegetables and fruit, add lean protein, include whole grains, select heart-healthy fats, and remember to include a calcium-rich food or drink at each meal. For more information about healthy food choices, go to www.choosemyplate.gov

Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Eat the amount of calories and protein you need. The amount that you need will depend on your height, weight, age, and medical condition.

Get the calcium you need. It is recommended that adults consume 1000 to 1200 milligrams (mg) of calcium each day. It is best to get calcium from the foods you eat. Foods rich in calcium such as low fat dairy foods (milk, yogurt, cheese), dark green leafy vegetables (bok choy, broccoli, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens), canned fish (sardines, salmon) eaten with bones, or calcium-fortified (with calcium added) foods. The body uses calcium best when it is spaced through the day. Try to eat a calcium rich food at each meal or snack. If you think that you are not getting the recommended amount of calcium in the foods you eat, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to find out if a calcium supplement is right for you. Calcium supplements should not be taken without the advice of your healthcare provider. Too much calcium taken on a routine basis, particularly from supplements, may be harmful.

Get the recommended amount of vitamin D. There are only a few good natural sources of vitamin D including fatty fish such as catfish, eel, mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna and shiitake mushrooms. Small amounts of vitamin D are added to all cow’s milk, some types of beverages (almond, coconut, rice, or soy beverages and orange juice), yogurt, cheese, and nutrition bars. Adults 50 years of age and above should consume 800-1000 IU or 20-25mcg daily. Your healthcare provider may recommend more vitamin D than above stated amounts based on your individual needs.

Be physically active. Your bones get stronger and denser when you make them work. Walking, climbing stairs, and dancing are impact (or weight-bearing) exercises that strengthen your bones by moving your body against gravity when you are standing. Resistance exercises such as lifting weights or using exercise bands strengthens your bones and your muscles too! Tai Chi is an example of physical activity that improves posture and balance to help decrease the risk for falls and fractures. Exercise can be easy; try 10 minutes at a time, adding the minutes up to reach your goal.

Don’t smoke. If you do, STOP. Call 1-800-NYQUITS for information about how to quit.

Limit alcohol. Before drinking alcohol, it is important to speak to your healthcare provider about possible interactions with your medication or your medical condition. Too much alcohol can be harmful for your bones and your overall health.

Take action to prevent falls. Most broken bones occur as a result of a fall that can be prevented. Some actions to prevent falls at home include using nightlights, removing or securing scatter rugs, and getting rid of clutter.

Strong bones are a lifetime commitment. It is never too early or too late to take the steps to promote stronger bones.