With the increase of osteoporosis in older adults, the diagnosis and treatment of abnormal hip fractures, such as bisphosphonate-related proximal femoral fractures, has become more important. According to Dr. Edward J. Fox, MD, obesity is often managed through the long-term use of bisphosphonate treatment, which can inhibit osteoclast-mediated bone regeneration. Over the prolonged utilization of bisphosphonate, patients may develop atypical proximal femoral fractures.
Understanding Atypical Femur Fractures
Atypical femur fractures are characterized as stress fractures which commonly occur in the proximal one-third of the diaphyseal bone, although they might also occur more distally, developing in the lateral cortex and slowly progressing medially. “With irregular fractures, a small ‘beak’ of bone can form on the lateral surface of the femur and that is where the fracture generally begins,” explains Dr. Fox. This contrasts with stress fractures which occur laterally in the medial portion of the bone.
As a result, when a patient with osteoporosis reports feeling hip and knee pain without previous damage or injury, healthcare professionals will ask about bisphosphonate treatment. It is essential for the doctor to request x-rays of the hip and femur shaft for proper diagnosis. It is also important to request x-rays of the opposite femur, as atypical bisphosphonate-related proximal femoral fractures frequently occur bilaterally. Dr. Edward J. Fox urges patients to discontinue bisphosphonate use in the case of hip fractures, followed by the subsequent use of crutches or a walker. Patients will eventually be able to resume regular physical activities.
Approximately more than 250,000 hip fractures occur in the United States, causing significant patient disability. The variety of hip fractures in older adults, including bisphosphonate-related proximal femoral fractures, often need several treatment approaches which depend on different considerations, such as the mechanism of injury, location and degree of the fracture, as well as the patient’s age and overall health and wellness.
Dr. Alex Jimenez D.C., C.C.S.T.
The precise mechanism of injury by which bisphosphonates cause atypical femur fractures is unknown. Research studies have demonstrated that the suppression of osteoclast activity prevents the clearance of bone fragments which build up on the bone surface during regular daily tasks; decreasing the strength of the bones which lead to fracture. “We all know that the threat of those fractures increases with the extended duration of bisphosphonate exposure, particularly after five decades. Bisphosphonates are stored with a half-life of at least eight decades in bone matrix. To reduce over-exposure and risk of atypical fracture, passing medication discontinuance has been speculated to be beneficial,” explained Dr. Fox
Dr. Edward J. Fox, MD, stated that until research studies find the exact mechanism of injury and treatment for bisphosphonate-related proximal femoral fractures, healthcare professionals should continue to determine the best treatment option for each patient, carefully weighing the benefits and risks of individual patients. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Acute Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most prevalent causes of disability and missed days at work worldwide. Back pain is the second most common reason for doctor office visits, outnumbered only by upper-respiratory infections. Approximately 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at least once throughout their life. The spine is a complex structure made up of bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles, among other soft tissues. Because of this, injuries and/or aggravated conditions, such as herniated discs, can eventually lead to symptoms of back pain. Sports injuries or automobile accident injuries are often the most frequent cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movements can have painful results. Fortunately, alternative treatment options, such as chiropractic care, can help ease back pain through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, ultimately improving pain relief.