Exercise is an important part of your care if you have osteoporosis.
Women Fitness got in touch with Dr. Paul Rothenberg, a Board Certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in operative and non-operative treatment of sports-related injuries to answer frequently asked questions about exercises women suffering from osteoporosis should avoid,
- Some exercise is good when you have a low bone density from osteoporosis. But not all types of exercise are a good idea. Share some exercises that are a complete no for women suffering from osteoporosis (30-60). Please elaborate as to why they need to be avoided.
Exercise is absolutely critical in patients with Osteoporosis. Not only does exercise improve overall bone health and decrease bone loss in postmenopausal women, but it can also improve balance which can prevent falls that lead to fractures.
Every patient is different and the degree of bone loss may affect each patient’s specific exercise recommendations. The following are general recommendations.
- Exercise and physical activity has been shown to increase bone mass in younger patients and mitigate bone loss in older patients (>60 years).
- Weight-bearing exercises have been shown to mitigate bone loss in patients with osteoporosis. However, depending on the degree of bone loss, some weight-bearing activities should be avoided.
- High Impact weight-bearing exercises such as running or jumping have demonstrated the ability to improve bone density, however, depending on the degree of bone loss, should be avoided to decrease their risk of developing insufficiency fractures AKA stress fractures.
- As an alternative, low impact weight-bearing activities such as; walking, stair climbing, dancing, and the elliptical machines are good options.
- “Sports that are associated with a high risk of falls are also a no-no. Other activities to avoid: exercises where you need to bend forward and twist your waist, which can raise the risk of compression fractures in your spine.” They can cause an interruption in daily lifestyle so how can one go about improving the condition.
Exercises that involve excessive bending or twisting should also be avoided as these can place the spinal vertebrae at risk for compression fractures. Some activities such as Yoga can be performed safely, but with appropriate modifications.
Finally, sports and activities that are associated with a high risk of falls, should be avoided in patients at high risk for fragility fractures. These sports include but are not limited to; skiing, ice skating, and rollerblading.
- How one can incorporate these exercises with modification to prevent deterioration.
The National osteoporosis foundation has good handouts and information on safely performing Yoga and Pilates with appropriate modifications.
- Is osteoporosis reversible share input out of your experience with athletes and patients.
In my practice, I mostly encounter osteoporosis in two areas. Patients who have sustained fragility fractures, such as distal radius or proximal humerus. Or older athletes who develop insufficiency fractures secondary to repetitive activity on weakened bone. In both groups of patients, the management of osteoporosis occurs simultaneously with the treatment of the fracture. Reversing Osteoporosis may not be entirely possible, but there are a number of steps that can help mitigate the bone loss and in some instances improve bone density. I always start the patients on appropriate calcium and vitamin D supplementation. I then refer them to an appropriate specialist who is knowledgeable on the latest medical treatments for osteoporosis, as this is outside the scope of my surgical practice. There are numerous types of physicians that treat osteoporosis, including but not limited to, internists, rheumatologists, and endocrinologists.
“Using this approach I have successfully returned many athletes with osteoporosis back to the activities they love doing the most,” says Dr. Rothenberg who also happens to be a former collegiate athlete.
About: Dr. Paul Rothenberg, M.D. is a Board Certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in operative and non-operative treatment of sports-related injuries. As a former collegiate athlete, he understands the burden of injury on an active lifestyle. Dr. Rothenberg is passionate is restoring his patients’ lifestyles by returning them to their favorite.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.