Osteoporosis and fractures
Osteoporosis can result in fractures. The most common fracture sites are the spine, hip, wrist, upper arm, forearm or ribs. Anyone who experiences a broken bone from a minor bump or fall, and is 50 years or over should be investigated for osteoporosis.
Recovering After a Fracture
All fractures require recovery time and a rehabilitation program. Rehabilitation can take place in hospital, outpatient clinic, rehabilitation centre, private practice, community centre, fitness facility or home. The program will depend on the type of fracture and your age. A physiotherapist will usually plan an exercise program as part of your rehabilitation and an occupational therapist can conduct a ‘home audit’ and may recommend walking aids if needed.
Most wrist fractures require a cast for about 6 weeks. Exercises are recommended for the fingers and shoulder whilst the cast is on, to prevent muscle wasting and reduced flexibility during this time. After removal, a physiotherapist can advise on rehabilitation exercises for the wrist.
Pain from a spinal fracture usually lasts 6-8 weeks. Initially exercise will be supervised by a physiotherapist to prevent any further injury. Hydrotherapy is a good way to introduce exercise. When the fracture has healed your physiotherapist may recommend exercises to strengthen the back extension muscles, as this has been shown to reduce the risk of spinal fractures.
Rehabilitation is essential and generally begins 1-2 days after the operation. Exercise is crucial for rehabilitation after a hip fracture. Most ‘in hospital’ programs run for several weeks. Resistance training (lifting weights) has been shown to be effective in recovering from a hip fracture.
Patients who do intensive resistance exercise for 6-12 months following surgery improve their ability to get up, walk, climb stairs, do household tasks compared to those who have not participated in ongoing rehabilitation exercises.