foot linked to Osteoporosis
YORK (Reuters Health) -- Men and women who have a broken foot that
cannot be traced to an obvious cause may be showing the first signs
of the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, according to researchers
at the Ohio State University in Columbus.
patients who went to the doctor with unexplained fractures in the
metatarsals -- the relatively long bones in the middle of the foot
-- 20 turned out to have signs of bone loss indicating osteoporosis.
foot fracture had been caused by normal weight bearing -- some patients
were walking when they felt their bones break," said study
co-author Dr. Rodney Tomczak in a statement issued by the University.
While the stress of running or exercising can cause a broken foot
bone, as can a blow to the foot, none of the patients had any obvious
cause of the fracture.
and colleague Dr. Robert VanCourt reported their findings recently
at the annual meeting of the American College of Foot and Ankle
patients included six men, aged 19 to 55, and 15 women, aged 40
to 72. Four were African American and the rest Caucasian. All six
men had signs of osteoporosis.
was a startling find," Tomczak said. "Men usually don't
suffer from osteoporosis." He noted that all of the men and
12 of the women had other conditions that might contribute to the
development of osteoporosis, such as diabetes, kidney failure, menopause,
low testosterone levels or thyroid problems.
density scans indicated that 9 of the patients had osteoporosis,
and 10 had significant bone loss likely to develop into the condition.
Weight was not related to the risk of fracture.
on a very high correlation of patients with insufficiency fractures
to low bone mineral mass in this study, patients who present with
unexplained metatarsal fractures, including men, should be referred
for bone density testing," the authors concluded.
Tomczak and VanCourt recommended that "the public awareness
campaign concerning osteoporosis should be refocused to include
men, who may also be suffering from this disease."
researchers noted that about 22 million North Americans have osteoporosis,
and about 1.5 million of these will suffer at least one bone fracture
in a given year. Although this condition is usually thought to affect
elderly women, the average age of women in this study was 54, and
the average age of the men was 35.
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