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Balance characteristics of persons with osteoporosis.

OBJECTIVE: People affected by osteoporosis are at particular risk for bone fractures caused by falls. Preventive intervention depends on first describing the risk factors for falls present in this population as a group and as individuals. In this preliminary study, balance characteristics of women with and without osteoporosis were measured with computerized dynamic posturography (CDP).

DESIGN: A case control design was selected to compare the balance characteristics of each group of patients with osteoporosis.

SETTING: Testing was performed in the vestibular assessment area of our multispecialty clinic.

SUBJECTS: Patient groups were selected from within our case load. Ten women with osteoporosis were compared with six women with osteoporosis and kyphosis (Cobb angle more than 54 degrees) and with five age-matched normal subjects.

INTERVENTIONS: Because this was an observational study, no interventions were used.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Averaged results from all trials of sensory organization tests 5 and 6, with use of sway amplitude and balance strategy scores, were used to compare the performance of each patient group.

RESULTS: Both groups with osteoporosis had different balance control strategies than the group without osteoporosis. Specifically, those with osteoporosis had greater use of hip strategies for maintaining balance than did the normal group. Those with kyphosis also had greater postural sway than either of the other two groups.

CONCLUSION: Results of this study suggest that there are differences in balance control strategies and sway amplitude between patients with and those without osteoporosis. Further study is recommended in which CDP is used to clarify and confirm these differences. Individual CDP results can be used to optimize habilitative management of these patients.

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