Too Fit to Fracture!

When we talk about unhealthy bones we use two words, osteoporosis (OP) and osteopenia. Both refer to the loss of bone mineral density with osteoporosis referring to a more significant loss.

Osteoporosis affects men and women differently with women four times more likely to develop the condition. OP is one of the most prevalent chronic conditions in Australia yet it receives little attention. In South Australia, 67% of people over the age of 50 have poor bone health, which is expected to increase to 69% by 2022 as our population ages. Fractures often a secondary affect from OP. In the 10 years from 2012 to 2022, it is expected that the occurrence of osteoporotic fractures will increase by 31%, which equals 42 fractures every single day. The most alarming statistic is that 1 in 6 of these fractures will be to the hip. Hip fractures are one of the most concerning osteoporotic fractures, often requiring surgery and a long rehabilitation.

The cost of osteoporosis and its secondary affects to South Australia is a staggering $255 million.

In 2017 the Royal Australian College of GPs got together and produced their new Osteoporosis Clinical Practice Guideline. It is a document that summarises the best available evidence for treating and managing people with osteoporosis.

The recommendations that have come from that document:

  • For people over 50 years of age, resistance exercise 2-3 per week
  • Resistance exercises should be varied, vigorous and progressive
  • High-intensity resistance and balance training for the elderly helps prevent further bone loss, improves activities of daily living, decreases muscle loss and decreases falls/fracture risk.

A common myth is that if you walk you’re working on your bone density. Whilst walking is a great form of exercise it is not an effective exercise in preventing bone loss.

At Unley Physio we provide physiotherapist supervised exercise classes (known as uFit) and for patients with Osteoporosis we create specific osteoporosis preventative exercise programs based on the most recent available evidence. If you or someone you know would benefit from such a class please give us a call.