Possible Complications

Possible Complications

Fractures and their complications are the most relevant clinical sequela of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis may also be associated with joint pain and bone pain (osteomyalgia). 

Osteoporosis-related fractures have a heavy social and economic burden, and can markedly affect a person’s functional status, putting a strain on interpersonal relationships and social roles. Individuals that are immobile are at risk of complications such as pressures sores, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. Hip fractures are associated with a 2.5-fold increased risk of future fractures.1 

As well as interfering with activities of daily living, some fractures can have specific complications: 

Table 1. Complications of fractures.2

Type of fracture Complications
Vertebral Back pain
Height loss
Kyphosis (commonly known as ‘Dowager’s hump’)
Multiple thoracic Restrictive lung disease
Lumbar fractures Constipation
Abdominal pain
Reduced appetite
Premature satiety

  1. Colón-Emeric C, Kuchibhatla M, Pieper C, et al. The contribution of hip fracture to risk of subsequent fracture: Data from two longitudinal studies. Osteoporos Int. 2003;14:879–883. 
  2. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Accessed 21 February 2011.


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