Have you broken a bone? 

If you have broken a bone easily it may be a sign that your bones are fragile.  Not all broken bones are an indication of bone fragility – those of concern occur after mild trauma such as a fall from a standing height or less.

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As we age, our bones become more fragile. The mesh-like structures inside begin to break down, making them less able to resist impact from knocks and minor falls. This means a slip on the ice, or a trip over the rug can result in a broken bone. Fractures of particular concern are:

  1. Those among the over 50s
  2. ‘Low trauma’ or ‘fragility’ fractures caused by minimal force at any age
  3. Those to the wrist, hip or spine  

Osteoporosis itself does not affect the healing process and isn’t a painful condition. Broken bones, however, often result in significant pain.


What should you do if you have broken a bone easily?

If you’ve suffered a fracture and meet any or all of the criteria above, you should investigate whether you are at risk of further fractures.

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Make an appointment to talk to your doctor about:

  1. A fracture risk assessment or bone check. This means looking at factors which influence your bone strength such as your age, medical history etc . It will help you and your doctors understand why your bones may be more fragile than expected and also show whether you need a drug treatment to reduce the risk of further broken bones.
  2. The possibility of a bone density scan. A bone density scan, which is painless, is able to determine the amount of bone in your skeleton. It can be of help in deciding whether or not you would benefit from drug treatment.

From this information, you and your doctor can analyse your risk of fracture and identify relevant treatment options. If you are at high risk, your doctor may recommend a drug treatment, which could reduce your risk of breaking further bones by as much as half.

If you are falling frequently, let your doctor know. They can offer advice on staying steady, and put you in touch with a local specialist falls clinic. 


What else can I do?

The good news is that we can all take steps to improve our bone health and help prevent fractures.

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Give yourself the best possible chance by staying positive and: 

  1. Eating a healthy diet, rich in calcium
  2. Taking regular weight-bearing exercise
  3. Keeping active to maintain your balance and coordination and prevent falls

Weight-bearing exercise refers to any physical activity where you are supporting your own weight. For example, walking or standing press-ups are both weight-bearing. Swimming, where you’re supported by the water, is not.

You’ll find lots of information on all aspects of osteoporosis, so explore the rest of the site and find out what you can do!


Top Tips

Speak to your GP if:

  1. You are over 50
  2. You broke a bone from a minor fall or bump
  3. You did not get a bone health assessment following treatment
  4. You are not on a bone strengthening treatment

Act now, STOP AT ONE