Orthopaedic experts warn pandemic sitting time may be contributing to stress fractures in kids
Monday, January 23, 2023

by Liz Bonis, WKRC

Click HERE to see the full article.

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - All that pandemic sit time may be contributing to a rise in stress fractures in kids.

The next time you have a fracture or bone break, do not be surprised if you get asked a few questions by your medical team about what is going on with your bones.

Since the pandemic began, medical providers say they have been seeing a bit of a dangerous trend. It is younger athletes coming in with stress fractures, often a sign of weak bones.

Director of the Bone Health Center at Orthocincy and spine specialist Dr. Howard Schertzinger says the drop in bone building foods and the rise in sit time for kids is leading to a diagnosis of bone loss at younger ages not seen in previous years.

“The key is the vitamin D, because in young folks with referrals, often for stress fractures, even with athletes, and we’ll do their calcium and vitamin D and it’s in the teens, and they should be in the forties,” said Dr. Schertzinger.

Dr. Schertizinger’s team, however, is now one of many trying to interrupt this process. They have launched clinics hoping to identify teens at risk through parents and grandparents who have bone breaks.

“It’s called primary prevention,” said Dr. Schertzinger.

Here is how it works: if a parent or grandparent comes in with a hip fracture or bone break, they will look into the bone health of their children and grandchildren.

“We ask about their daughters specifically and we do FRAX, which is a screening test for the siblings, or the daughters, sons of the patient with the hip fractures,” said Dr. Schertzinger.

They also ask a series of questions which identify family risk.

Some of those include:
  • Have you had a previous bone break?
  • Lost height?
  • Taken a bone building or depleting medication?
  • Do you smoke?
  • Have you had bone density testing?
  • Or had your vitamin D or calcium tested?
Those tests are needed because bone softening is a silent disease.

To learn more about Dr. Schertzinger and other OrthoCincy physicians, click HERE.