Definition of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a silent form of metabolic arthritis. It tends to develop with no symptoms over a period of weeks to months. Osteoporosis is often overlooked or mistaken for other inflammatory or degenerative types of arthritis.

Causes of Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis mainly affects bones and by extension causing arthritis. Bone tissue, like any other tissue in the human body, undergoes physiologic breakdown which then triggers the body to produce new bone tissue. In osteoporosis, bone tissue destruction occurs at a faster rate compared to bone tissue replacement.

Osteoporosis can either be primary or secondary according to these etiological factors:

  1. Primary osteoporosis
  • Juvenile osteoporosis
  • Idiopathic osteoporosis
    • Type 1 – senile osteoporosis
    • Type 2 – Post-menopausal osteoporosis
  1. Secondary osteoporosis
  • Old age >60 years
  • Asian/White race
  • Short stature
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Smoking & alcohol abuse
  • Genetic factors e.g. Cystic Fibrosis, Osteogenesis Imperfecta
  • Endocrinologic e.g. Thyroid disease, Diabetes Mellitus
  • Malnutrition e.g. Vitamin D, Calcium deficiencies
  • Inflammatory arthritis e.g. Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Blood disorders e.g. lymphoma, multiple myeloma
  • Medications e.g. anti-psychotics, antiretroviral drugs

Symptoms of Osteoporosis

The onset of symptoms in osteoporosis arthritis can be insidious or acute. Common site of arthritis in osteoporosis is in these areas:

  • Hip osteoporosis arthritis: Hip involvement can be one-sided or both joints. People with osteoporosis arthritis report deep, sharp pain in the groin, buttocks radiating to the legs. The joint area is tender to the touch. There is limited range of movement in the hip joint. It is predominant in the senile type of osteoporosis arthritis.
  • Wrist joint osteoporosis arthritis: Bones of the hand i.e. radius tend to become brittle towards the wrist joint. A person may complain of inability to move the wrist joint because of severe pain. Joint deformity is frequently reported. This is more common among post-menopausal women.
  • Spinal joint osteoporosis arthritis: The middle and lower back are the predominantly affected sites. In this type, pain is typically intense, sharp and nagging.  Pain is localized on the back region but can radiate to the abdomen. Structural deformity is likely and changes such as lordosis, which is an exaggerated inward curvature of the lumbar region, may occur. This is due to shortened inter-vertebral heights. Range of movement is severely compromised. Some people may opt to lie still for long periods to avoid aggravating pain.

Treatment of Osteoporosis

When you start exhibiting such symptoms, we encourage you to contact our orthopedic specialist, Dr. Burke. He has, over the years, acquired a wealth of experience managing patients with osteoporosis arthritis.  He possesses excellent clinical acumen in treating patients with this disease. He offers the following treatment plans:

  • NSAIDs
  • Calcium and vitamin D supplements e.g. Ibandronic acid, Calcitonin
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Graded exercises
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Corrective surgery e.g. vertebroplasty