Which physical exams are indicated in suspected osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Patients with suspected osteoporosis should undergo a comprehensive physical examination. The physical examination should begin with an inspection of the patient. Height measurement with a stadiometer at each visit may be useful. Examination of active and passive range of motion (ROM) assists in determining whether spine, hip, wrist, or other osseous pathology may be present. A thorough neurologic examination is essential to rule out spinal cord and/or peripheral nerve compromise.

The examination may elicit pain, or the patient may be pain free. Thoracic kyphosis may be present secondary to vertebral compression fractures, a dowager hump, and a history of loss of height. Patients may have an associated scoliosis.

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