Osteoporosis Fractures or Breaks

Osteoporosis is characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, reducing its strength and resulting in fragile bones. When these fragile bones break, or fracture, this is referred to as a fragility fracture. Because the bones have weakened, the fractures happen in ways that would not normally cause a break in a healthy person. For example, for someone with very advanced osteoporosis, even minor activity, such as a sneeze or a cough, can be enough to cause a fracture. Osteoporosis fractures often happen to the weight-bearing structures in the hip, but other common areas include the wrist and spine. 

If you have osteoporosis and break a bone, you need special care to make sure you don't have breaks or fractures in the future. Our team of doctors and surgeons at the University of Michigan’s Orthopaedic Trauma Service specialize only in fractures. We treat osteoporosis fractures and other fragility fractures comprehensively, with a variety of cutting-edge surgical and non-surgical treatments that will be individualized for your specific needs. And we educate you in the best ways to prevent such fractures in the future.

Our goal is to restore you to pre-fracture function, as well as improve your long-term bone health. We are also part of the American Orthopaedic Association's Own the Bone Program to improve the care of fracture patients age 50 and up.

In addition, the University of Michigan is a Level 1 Trauma Center, which means you will receive the highest level of care by experts who regularly treat patients with complex fractures and multiple bone breaks.

Symptoms of Osteoporosis Fractures and Other Fragility Fractures

If you have any of the following, you may have a fracture or break, but only a physician can make a proper diagnosis:

  • Pain in your hip, groin or thigh
  • Feeling a “pop” in your hip
  • Trouble walking on the side that is affected by the osteoporosis
  • Pain when you rotate your hip in or out
  • Your leg appears to be rotated instead of straight

Diagnosing Osteoporosis Fractures and Other Fragility Fractures

To better understand the extent of your injury, we will:

  • Take a complete health history and conduct a physical examination to assess your fracture, pinpoint the location, and check your range of motion, as well as consider any other medical conditions that might be related to your fracture.
  • Take X-rays of the affected area to evaluate the pattern of your fracture.
  • Possibly order a CT scan, MRI, and/or bone scan, if needed, to further evaluate your fracture.

Surgery is sometimes required to maintain the position of the bones. We may use plates and screws to keep the bone in place as the fracture heals. Surgery can be done on either an outpatient or inpatient basis, depending on the location and severity of your fracture.

On average it takes about 3 months to heal after fracture surgery. During that time, our partners in rehabilitation will begin working with you to increase your function, decrease your pain and maximize your performance.

Our Approach to Care

As part of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Musculoskeletal Center, we collaborate closely with areas such as:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Radiology
  • Rheumatology

Our integrated, multidisciplinary approach to patient care enables us to develop an individualized plan for your treatment. 

Contact Us / Make an Appointment

  • Orthopaedics, 734-936-5780

You want to make sure fractures don't reoccur. With our years of experience assisting patients with osteoporosis and fractures, we can help you make an informed choice -- Contact Us. To schedule an appointment to discuss your fracture or any musculoskeletal condition, call us at 734-936-5780.