Understanding Osteoporosis

Understanding Osteoporosis

Bone is one of the hardest materials in the human body, but did you know that bones are made of living tissue just like every other part of your body?

The cells that make up your bones change, grow, and repair just like all other tissues. Bones have calcium phosphate, collagen, and other minerals that make them dense, strong, and resilient.

However, your bone density naturally starts declining as you get older. Decreased bone density means your bones are weaker, more fragile, and more likely to break.

Low bone density affects about 44 million Americans. Another 10 million American adults have osteoporosis — a bone disease characterized by extremely low bone density.

Lisa Burson, DPM and Joe Aoun, DPM offer comprehensive foot and fracture care at The Foot & Ankle Specialists. Osteoporosis increases your risk of suffering a painful foot or ankle fracture, but we’re here to help you understand the condition and learn what to do to protect your health.

Your risk for osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is quite common. However, since it doesn’t have noticeable warning signs, you might not know you have low bone density until you get a fracture.

Bone density naturally decreases with age, so everyone’s risk of fracture goes up as they get older. However, some people are more likely to develop it than others.

You shouldn’t wait until you get a fracture to find out if you’re at risk for osteoporosis. To protect your health, take the time to understand risk factors for osteoporosis now.

Common risk factors for osteoporosis include:

Your diet and lifestyle might also affect your risk of osteoporosis. A diet that’s lacking in calcium and other nutrients could accelerate loss of bone density, and living a sedentary lifestyle is linked to bone loss.

How to avoid fractures

Osteoporosis doesn’t cause noticeable symptoms, so the only way to know if you have low bone density is through a bone density test. If you have risk factors for osteoporosis, ask your doctor if you should get a bone density scan to check for bone loss.

Whether or not your doctor recommends a bone density scan, you can do a lot to protect and improve your bone health. One of the best ways to build and maintain bone mass is getting regular exercise.

Always wear supportive footwear and socks that are appropriate for your activity, no matter if you’re exercising outdoors or walking around your house. Avoid walking on uneven surfaces to reduce your risk of taking an awkward step or suffering a fall.

Along with regular physical activity, targeted strength training can make a big difference in your bone health. Stretching and strength training (like lifting small weights) stimulates cell regeneration in your bones to fight loss of density.

What to do if you get a foot fracture

If you do suffer a foot or ankle fracture, Dr. Lisa Burson and Dr. Joe Aoun specialize in fracture care. We do on-site X-ray imaging to diagnose your injury and assess its extent, then recommend the best treatment options for you.

Simple fractures can be set without surgery, but more complex fractures may need surgical repair. We immobilize your foot or ankle in a splint, cast, or bandages, and give you instructions for at-home care.

Protecting your bone health as you age starts by learning your risk of osteoporosis. Find out more about avoiding fractures — or find prompt care for injuries — at The Foot & Ankle Specialists. Call the office nearest you, or request an appointment online now.

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