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|
Kyphosis (commonly known as ‘Dowager’s hump’)
|Multiple thoracic||Restrictive lung disease|
- 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.
National Osteoporosis Foundation. Clinician’s Guide to Prevention and Treatment of Osteoporosis. Accessed 21 February 2011.