Symptoms of Fractures Due to Osteoporosis

The spine, hips, and wrist are the most common places for a fracture when you have osteoporosis. Here's what to expect if it happens to you.

Spinal Compression Fractures

This is a break of one or more of your vertebrae, the small bones in your spine. If you have osteoporosis, sometimes just the simple act of bending over, coughing, or lifting something heavy may cause it.

If your compression fracture is minor and develops over a long time, you may not have any symptoms. If that's the case, it may heal on its own. You might not learn about it unless you have an X-ray of the area for other reasons.

Pain often goes along with a compression fracture. You'll feel it along the spine, usually in your middle to lower back. It often gets worse when you stand or sit for a long period and gets better when you lie down.

You may also notice that you're getting a little shorter. And you could get a curved spine or humped back, which may be a sign that you have more than one compression fracture.

Hip Fractures

Some warning signs that you've got a fracture are:

  • Pain in your hip
  • Swelling or bruising
  • You can't walk or stand normally
  • The leg on your injured side looks shorter or twisted

The pain can vary a lot. You might only have mild discomfort, or it could hurt so much that you can't walk.

Sometimes the bones of your hip are so weak from osteoporosis that even an ordinary activity causes a hairline break. If you have this type of fracture, you'll still be able to stand and walk, but you may feel pain in your groin, bottom, knee, or thigh.

Wrist Fractures

This often happens when you land on your outstretched hand as you try to stop yourself from hitting the ground after a fall.

You'll have symptoms like:

  • Pain, swelling, or bruising in your wrist or the base of your thumb
  • Your wrist bends at an unnatural angle
  • It hurts when you try to grip something in your injured hand
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by David Zelman, MD on May 05, 2017

Sources

SOURCES:

American College of Rheumatology: "Osteoporosis."

National Osteoporosis Foundation: "Recovering from Falls."

UptoDate: "Osteoporotic Thoracolumbar Vertebral Compression Fractures: Clinical Manifestations and Treatment," "Hip Fracture in Adults," "Distal Radius Fractures in Adults."

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Osteoporosis and Spinal Fractures," "Distal Radius Fractures (Broken Wrist)," "Scaphoid Fracture of the Wrist."

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