The Dangers of Osteoporosis to the Foot and Ankle

Many common foot problems can occur because of a lack of bone integrity and strength. Imagine yourbones are like the steel frames of a skyscraper, providing support and stability to the walls, floors and ceilings. If the steel frames rust or corrode, the building losses integrity and will crack, break and fall. Your bones act to support your body in the same way. The slow washing away is known as osteopenia (decreased bone density) and leads to osteoporosis (insufficient bone density).

Osteopenia is defined by the World Health Organization as mineral density of 2.5 standard deviations below the average peak bone mass.An imbalance between bone resorption and bone formation causes the bones to become more brittle. Bone Mineral Density is commonly evaluated withdual-energy x-ray absorptiometry.With decrease in bone mineral density the bones are more susceptible to fracture. Osteoporosis is most commonly found in post-menopausal women but can be a less common concern for men over 75 years old. Osteoporosis is not limited to the elderly population, as it can occur in both sexes at any age, but this is usually due to a secondary medical issue or prolonged use of glucocorticoids. Osteoporosis is often treated or avoided with use of calcium supplements, bisphosphonates and Vitamin D. Exercise and diet changes can also help increase bone density.

The main danger for individuals with osteoporosis involves falls. A simple fall can often have detrimental results. With osteoporosis, landing on a hip, arm, knee or shoulder can lead to a fracture or break in the bone. In the realm of podiatry, it is common to see an elderly patient simply bump their toe on a coffee table or night stand and present with a broken toe or foot. Having osteoporosis is similar to driving a bumper car made of fine china; the simplest contact can result in breaking bone in a foot into pieces. In contrast; supplementing as mentioned above and changing diet and exercise habits reinforces the steel framing of your body, giving you the best chance against osteoporosis.

For more information on osteoporosis or general foot questions please contact Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman of Houston Foot Specialists by calling (713) 467-8886 or online appointments are available on are web site along with a wealth of information regarding foot and ankle care at

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Category: General

Tags: Ankle Problems, Bone Problems, Exercise, Foot Problems, Fractures, Osteopenia, Osteoporosis