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Worried about breaking a hip? There might be something better than calcium.

Article by Sara Chodosh | Found on Popsci

Vitamin supplement companies want you to believe their products stave off disease. They can save you from heart attacks and broken bones and common colds. Or at least they say they can. But too often, those claims aren’t based on scientific studies, and consumers are left either mislead or unsure of what can actually help them.

Luckily, we have a panel of people whose job is to evaluate the evidence for interventions like vitamin supplements. They’re called the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, and they just released their latest judgment: calcium and vitamin D probably don’t help the elderly stave off broken bones. The one thing that they think will do the trick? Exercise.

Here’s what you need to know.

Just the key facts

Lots of older people are worried about falling, and though breaking a hip is now a cliché, it’s also a serious problem for elderly Americans. Alex Krist, a leading member of the USPSTF, noted in a recent interview with the journal JAMA that there are about two million fractures a year, and that those people who fracture their hips often end up being unable to walk again. What’s more, he notes that “more than half require assistance with daily activities, and 20 to 30 percent die within a year of their fracture.” This is why it’s so important to understand which interventions really work to prevent falls and fractures.

But when the USPSTF looked at the studies that have been done investigating whether calcium supplements, vitamin D pills, or both combined had any positive effect, they found evidence that lower doses did absolutely nothing. They now recommend against taking between 400 IU vitamin D (standard pills are often around 2000 IU) or 1000 mg of calcium. As for higher doses, there just wasn’t enough evidence to make a recommendation either way. Calcium supplements did seem to increase the likelihood of kidney stones, especially at high doses, so it’s possible taking more would be harmful. Krist also noted that too much calcium can build up inside arteries, increasing risk of vascular disease in the process.

It’s important to note here that this is all only true for adults who aren’t at high risk of osteoporosis, which is a weakening of bones that makes them brittle. Those who are at high risk would benefit from added calcium and potentially also from vitamin D, which helps to metabolize calcium inside your body.

Since falls are still a huge problem for the elderly, though, the USPSTF also examined which interventions could actually work. After all, there were 29 million falls in 2015 alone, and 33,000 deaths resulting from those falls. Vitamin D did nothing. Neither did multifactorial interventions, which would entail preparing a plan for nutrition, mobility exercises, and so on for individual patients. The thing that actually does work is exercise. It was only a modest amount, but it helped even those elderly adults who were at high risk of falling. Exercise reduced the relative risk of a fall to 0.89 (compared to a risk of 1.0 without exercise), and reduced the risk of injurious falls to 0.81 (again, down from a default risk of 1.0). The type of exercise varied a lot between all the studies the USPSTF looked at, but generally included three sessions per week of balance/functional training, resistance work, and flexibility components.

One important caveat

In an accompanying editorial to these USPSTF recommendations, David Reuben, a geriatric specialist at UCLA who wasn’t involved in the report, notes that it’s possible some vitamin-based supplements actually could help—it’s just that people don’t take them regularly enough. He points out that in one of the key studies, if you looked only at the people who took at least 80 percent of their supplements you could see a 29 percent reduction in hip fractures.

Of course, if people aren’t able to stick to a vitamin regimen—even one prescribed for a clinical trial—it may be useless to prescribe it as an intervention anyway.

The upshot

If you aren’t at high risk for osteoporosis: don’t bother with vitamins! The evidence all says that you’re unlikely to see any benefit—unless you have a deficiency—and you could end up with a whole new set of problems if you take too much.

If you are at high risk for osteoporosis: go talk to your doctor first, but you’d likely benefit from calcium supplements, possibly alongside vitamin D pills.

Either way: get some exercise! Krist says he tells all his patients (he’s a practicing physician, as well as being on the USPSTF) to at least get out and walk for 30 minutes several times a week, but notes this can be difficult for his older patients who are too scared of falling. He tries to get those people into some kind of regimented program that makes them feel safer, and aims for them to train three times a week.

Resistance and strength training help build muscles that are important for all your daily activities. Walking, standing up from a chair, even just sitting down—you can only help yourself out by getting regular workouts. And apparently, your bones will thank you.


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more.

If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.

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What are the Symptoms of a Broken Foot?

Article by William Morrisson, MD | Found on MedicalNewsToday

Injuries to the feet are common and can sometimes result in broken bones. Being able to recognize the symptoms of a broken foot can help determine how serious it is and when to see a doctor.

This article looks at the causes and symptoms of a broken foot, and when to seek medical help. It also discusses first aid, diagnosis and treatment, recovery, and prevention tips. Read more

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Is it a Broken Toe?

Article by Jennifer Berry | Found on MedicalNewsToday

Although the bones in the toes are small, they play an essential role in walking and balance. Their crucial role in everyday life means that a broken toe can be inconvenient and extremely painful.

Although some people believe that there is nothing to be done about a broken toe, this is not always the case. In fact, most toe fractures should be evaluated by a health professional. If left untreated, a broken toe can lead to painful problems later.

Toe injuries are common, so it is a good idea to know the symptoms of a broken toe and when to see a doctor. Read more

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What is a Hairline Fracture?

Article by Aaron Kandola | Found on MedicalNewsToday

Hairline or stress fractures are tiny cracks on a bone that often develop in the foot or lower leg. It is common for hairline fractures to occur as a result of sports that involve repetitive jumping or running.

Hairline fractures may also occur in the upper limb and are often related to falls or accidents.

Hairline fractures usually develop gradually as a result of overuse, as opposed to larger bone fractures or breaks that are mostly caused by acute traumas, such as a fall. While hairline fractures may heal with sufficient rest, they can be painful and last several weeks.  Read more

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Bad Break: Osteoporosis-Related Bone Fractures Linked to Air Pollution

Article Found on ScienceDaily

Exposure to air pollution is associated with osteoporosis-related loss of bone mineral density and risk of bone fractures, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Their findings are published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

The researchers are the first to document high rates of hospital admissions for bone fractures in communities with elevated levels of ambient particulate matter (PM2.5), a component of air pollution, with risk of bone fracture admissions greatest in low-income communities. The findings, from a study of osteoporosis-related fracture hospital admissions among 9.2 million Medicare enrollees in the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic between 2003-2010, suggest that even a small increase in PM2.5 concentrations would lead to an increase in bone fractures in older adults. Read more

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Healing Broken Bones as Quickly as Possible

Article by Jonathan Cluett, MD | Found on VeryWell

Fractures, broken bones—you can call it what you wish, they mean the same thing—are among the most common orthopedic problems; about seven million broken bones come to medical attention each year in the United States. The average person in a developed country can expect to sustain two fractures over the course of their lifetime.

Despite what you may have heard, a broken bone is not worse than a fracture, they both mean the same thing. Read more

new mexico, orthopedic doctors, albuquerque

How Do Broken Bones Heal?

Article by 

A fall, followed by a crack – many people are no stranger to this. Broken bones are painful, but the majority heal very well. The secret lies in stem cells and bone’s natural ability to renew itself.

Many people think of bones as being solid, rigid, and structural. Bone is, of course, key to keeping our bodies upright, but it is also a highly dynamic and active organ. Read more

New Mexico, Orthopaedics, Albuquerque

Dairy-Free Diets Warning Over Risk to Bone Health

Article Found on BBC News

Diets which cut out dairy food could be a “ticking time bomb” for young people’s bone health, a charity is warning.

A National Osteoporosis Society survey found a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet.

It said it was concerned many young adults were putting their health at risk by following eating fads.

Cutting out dairy can be healthy if enough calcium is consumed from other sources, such as nuts, seeds and fish.

The charity surveyed 2,000 adults, including 239 under the age of 25 and 339 aged 25-35. Read more

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11 Tips to Improve Your Bone Health

Article by Allison Walsh | Found on Spine-Health.com

As we age, we become more at risk for developing osteoporosis, which can result in painful fractures of the hips, wrist, or spine. When a fracture occurs in the spine, it is called a compression fracture.

Follow these 11 practical tips to take care of your bones now.

Read more

Nanofibers Developed for Healing Bone Fractures

Article Featured on ScienceDaily

In future, it may be possible to use nanofibers to improve the attachment of bone implants, or the fibers may be used directly to scaffold bone regeneration. This would aid the healing of fractures and may enable the care of osteoporosis. This is detailed in a new dissertation.

In his doctoral research, Jani Holopainen of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Helsinki has developed processes for fibrous and thin-film biomaterials that can be used as scaffolding for bone regeneration and in other bone implants. He also studied the apparatus used for nanofiber production.

Synthetic bone-like material

“At best, bone-reforming scaffolds that regenerate at the same rate as bones could be used as implants. The scaffolds activate the bone cells to generate new bone that slowly replaces the disintegrating scaffold and the impant exits the body naturally without separate removal surgery,” Jani Holopainen says.

Holopainen selected hydroxyapatite, the main component of the bone mineral, as the focus of his research. This is why the synthetic hydroxyapatite structures he has developed are very compatible with bone.

Prototypes manufactured in Helsinki

Holopainen developed the electrospinning apparatus for producing hydroxyapatite fibers and a new kind of needleless twisted wire electrospinning setup, which is more productive than the generally known electrospinning method. The prototypes for the equipment used in the research were manufactured at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Helsinki. The equipment will have to be developed further in order to enhance production to an industrial scale.

“This promising method still has a long way to go before it will become a real medical application, though cellular tests have already been made,” says Professor Mikko Ritala of the Department of Chemistry and the Atomic Layer Deposition centre of excellence at the University of Helsinki, who was the advisor of the doctoral research.

See more at: https://helda.helsinki.fi/handle/10138/169566


New Mexico Orthopaedics is a multi-disciplinary orthopedic clinic located in Albuquerque New Mexico. We have multiple physical therapy clinics located throughout the Albuquerque metro area.

New Mexico Orthopaedics offers a full spectrum of services related to orthopedic care and our expertise ranges from acute conditions such as sports injuries and fractures to prolonged, chronic care diagnoses, including total joint replacement and spinal disorders.

Because our team of highly-trained physicians specialize in various aspects of the musculoskeletal system, our practice has the capacity to treat any orthopedic condition, and offer related support services, such as physical therapy, WorkLink and much more. If you need orthopedic care in Albuquerque New Mexico contact New Mexico Orthopaedics at 505-724-4300.