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Bone Loss and Posture: 6 Tips to Look Your Best

Frustrated with the way clothes look on you lately? Try these fashion tips for a better fit and feel.
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WebMD Feature

Everything changes with time -- and that's certainly true if you have bone loss from osteoporosis. Little compression fractures can affect the way you sit, stand, walk -- and look. You may be a bit shorter now, your posture a little different.

"These changes alter how a woman's clothes fit," says Susan Randall, RN, senior director of education for the National Osteoporosis Foundation. "Clothes don't seem to drape as they should. The length of a dress doesn't seem right -- it's down in front, pulling up in back, or the hem doesn't seem even."

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Osteoporosis Pain

Osteoporosis is often called the "silent disease," because most of the time, bone loss occurs without any symptoms at all. But when osteoporosis becomes severe, it can lead to fractures and a condition called kyphosis. Kyphosis is spinal compression, sometimes described as the "dowager's hump." Both fractures and kyphosis can be very painful. This pain is usually more severe than the typical "aches and pains" many people feel as they get older.

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So you tug here, tug there, then give up in frustration. "What's more -- it's difficult to find new clothes that fit any better," Randall tells WebMD. "The worst part is, you end up staying home when you'd rather be out having fun."

So Randall offers these tips to women about finding clothes that hide problem areas. "We want people to feel good about how they look. Then they can participate fully in life... get the most joy out of life," she says.

Fashion Tips to Disguise Posture, Bone Loss Problems

When you shop for new clothing, don't hesitate to utilize a personal shopper, Randall advises.

"Many department stores have personal shoppers today," she tells WebMD. "There is greater awareness among fashion industry and retail stores of special needs that women have. They can help you find clothing and accessories that help solve your problems."

Another option: Find a good seamstress to tailor clothing to your body -- or go to a dressmaker, and have clothing made just for you, she suggests.

Ready to forge ahead for fashion? Here are a few tips:

Select the right silhouette. It's best to wear clothing that is loose fitting, straight-lined, or slightly fitted -- nothing too closely-cut. Dress shapes that work best: A-line, tent, empire waist, dropped waist, princess (with vertical lines), tunics.

Find necklines that flatter. Jeweled, rounded, slight V, soft cowl necklines work best.

Revisit shoulder pads. "Judicious use of shoulder pads can help jackets, shirts, and dresses fit better," says Randall. Fabric stores sell shoulder pads in several sizes.

Look for softly styled sleeves. Raglan, dropped or dolman sleeves adapt easily to any shape.

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Osteoporosis Glossary

  • Bone Mineral Density - A measurement of the amount of calcium and minerals in bone tissue.
  • Calcium - A mineral in (and vital to) your bones. If your body lacks calcium, it takes it from bones.
  • DEXA (dual energy X-ray absorptiometry) - a test used to measure bone mineral density.
  • Osteoporosis - A decrease in bone density, which increase the risk of fractures.
  • Vitamin D - A vitamin that helps your body absorb calcium.
  • View All Terms

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