My mother has knee pain that’s being called an insufficiency fracture. What is it?

What is an insufficiency fracture? My mother was told that’s what’s causing her new knee pain.

Insufficiency fracture is a small subset of a larger group of fractures called stress fractures. Insufficiency fractures are caused by the effect of normal stress on weakened bone. Osteoporosis is the most common cause of bone loss leading to insufficiency fractures.

Loss of bone density from osteoporosis decreases the bone’s ability to “give” slightlyand resist everyday loads. The loss of this “elasticity” seems to affect the spine, tibiaand fibular (lower leg bones) and calcaneus (heel) most often.

These fractures seem to be on the rise in older adults, especially postmenopausal women.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit
www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.

Having gotten off a bus for 10 years, my mother’s hurt knee was diagnosed as an insufficiency fracture. Why was this time different?

My mother was getting off the bus when she had severe, sharp knee pain. The MRI showed a stress fracture. The doctors are calling it an insufficiency fracture. She’s gotten off that bus everyday for the last 10 years. Why was yesterday any different?

You didn’t say your mother’s age but age may be a factor. Older women are at increased risk for this problem. There’s an increased number of these fractures in women who are postmenopausal. Osteoporosis (decreased bone density) in this age group is another important factor.

Without its normal resiliency, the simplest, everyday stress can cause damage to the bone. Anyone who has arthritis is also at increased risk. Often, the osteoporosis added to any slight knee deformity can be enough to cause this problem.

Other factors include alcohol use, Crohn’s (intestinal) disease, and the use of steroids for arthritis. Low calcium absorption, vitamin D deficiency, and hormonal changes are also factors.

For more information on this subject, call The Zehr Center for Orthopaedics at 239-596-0100 or visit
www.zehrcenter.com. The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of a visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.