Top Five Ways To Prevent A Bone Fracture At Home 

Nursing a broken wrist, hip or femur is a far cry from how we picture spending our time as we get older and enter retirement – we picture crisp days out on the golf course, nurturing our gardens, getting out for picnics and to playgrounds with our grandkids. Yet staying seated and recovering from a fracture is the current reality faced by many Australians. 

Currently, around 6.2 million Australians are living with poor bone health, either in the form of osteoporosis or osteopenia, both of which describe reductions in bone mineral density and hence bone strength to different degrees, with osteoporosis being more severe. This means that when these adults have a fall, whether that’s tripping over something inside the house or losing balance due to age-related changes in our stability, there will be over 183,000 fractures each year. That’s one osteoporosis-related fracture every 2.9 minutes.

While many people take a “that’s not going to be me” approach when it comes to evaluating their risk of a fracture, the lifetime fracture prevalence in adults aged over 50 years is one in three women, and one in five men. This makes the risk very high. And this high risk, reflects the high consequences. Fractures from osteoporosis have been linked to a significant decrease in quality of life, impaired physical function, decreased independence, and increased pain., What’s more, if you’ve already had one fracture, you’re up to four times more likely to have another, most often within only one year., 

So what are some simple and effective preventative strategies you can put in place from the comfort of your own home to promote your bone health and manage your risk of a bone fracture? Here we’ll take a look at how your bone mineral density and osteoporosis can affect your fracture risk, and outline the top five ways to best support your bone health and reduce your chance of fractures, as backed by current medical research.

How Low Bone Mineral Density And Osteoporosis Can Increase Your Risk Of Fractures 

Our bones consist of living tissue that continually breaks down and rebuilds, like every other tissue in our body. But certain factors including ageing, being female, consuming insufficient calcium and vitamin D, hormonal changes and other factors can mean that old bone tissue breaks down faster than it is created. This means our normally strong bones that could be likened to solid planks of timber, become more porous and fragile, like driftwood. 

Ultimately, this means that your bone mineral density, or how much calcium and other minerals are present in your bone, can be significantly reduced, which may result in osteoporosis, or osteopenia:

  • Osteoporosis literally translates to “bones with holes”, and is a condition that is diagnosed when your bone mineral density is significantly reduced, and your normally dense and mineral-filled bones lose the mineral filling, leaving them significantly weaker and more vulnerable to fractures
  • Osteopenia is often nicknamed ‘pre-osteoporosis’, and indicates that your bone mineral density has decreased below normal values, but is not yet low enough for you to be formally diagnosed with osteoporosis. Osteopenia also puts you at risk of fractures, and is a major red flag that osteoporosis is not far behind if your current daily activities and attention to bone health do not improve

Current Scientific Evidence: Top 5 Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures

  1. Quit Smoking And Limit Alcohol To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures

Even if you only smoke the occasional cigarette, it may be time to consider quitting to protect your bones from future fractures. Research has found that smoking cigarettes is a high risk factor for fractures,, as people who smoke are more likely to have a loss of bone mass and osteoporosis., This is because smoking reduces the amount of vitamin D absorbed by the body, which is essential for encouraging new bone growth, as well as decreasing the body’s oestrogen levels, which also contributes to rapid bone loss.

Try to limit your alcohol intake to one drink a day if you’re a female, and two drinks a day if you’re a male. High levels of alcohol consumption are linked to higher rates of fractures and lower levels of bone mass, no matter your gender., In a similar way to smoking, alcohol can reduce your body’s ability to absorb calcium and vitamin D, key components of healthy bone growth, and reduce hormones which are responsible for new bone growth.

  1. Ensure You Meet Your Daily Nutritional Requirements To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures

Research indicates that a diet high in dairy products, fruits and whole grains may positively impact bone health and help to prevent fractures, particularly with regards to calcium and vitamin D intake. When the body is low in calcium, it will take it from the bones, decreasing bone mass and initiating or worsening osteoporosis. Between 1000-1200mg is recommended for men and women aged over 50 years, and this varies depending on other medical conditions, weight and age. 

Research has found that calcium is best absorbed through the foods we eat and the natural beverages we drink, and supplements can have many negative health implications, so it’s best to focus on meeting your calcium needs through your diet:

  • Dairy products are the richest source of calcium, and just two to three servings per day, e.g. a cup of milk, a pottle of yoghurt or two slices of cheese, can provide adequate calcium intake for most people
  • Other high calcium sources include almonds, oranges, dried figs, soybeans, garbanzo, white and pinto beans, and leafy green vegetables such as kale and spinach, among others. 
  • Dairy products also provide a range of other beneficial nutrients for bone health, including protein, vitamin B-12, phosphorus, potassium and riboflavin, and yoghurt that contains prebiotics and probiotics which improve intestinal calcium absorption and bone metabolism 
  • Interestingly, high calcium intake from supplements has been shown to increase the risk of developing kidney stones, whereas a high dietary calcium intake may prevent kidney stones 

Vitamin D is also essential for healthy bone development and maintenance due to its role in calcium absorption and other complex mechanisms. When Vitamin D levels are low, osteoclast cells are triggered to release calcium from the bones and out into the blood. The recommended intake of vitamin D ranges between 800-1000 IU, and most people can achieve adequate vitamin D levels by simply spending time outdoors during the day. In the height of summer, as little as six to eight minutes of sun exposure may be sufficient to produce 1000 IU of vitamin D, although people with darker skin may require three to six times more sun exposure. It’s important to remember that your skin needs to be exposed to direct sunlight to allow the synthesis of vitamin D to occur, as both glass and SPF sunscreens block UV-B rays. 

  1. Avoid Being Sedentary – Exercise Effectively To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures

While some of us may simply find it hard to fit exercise into our busy and demanding schedules, others can lose their confidence to exercise with decreasing levels of fitness or balance. They may become so afraid of injuring themselves or breaking a bone, that they become more sedentary, which only leads to further loss of bone and muscle. Exercise is one of the best ways to preserve your bone health, and prevent falls and fractures as you age. It also helps to reduce your risk of other health conditions, including heart disease, colon, breast and prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety, and more. 

Exercise can reduce your risk of fractures in two ways – by helping you build and maintain bone density, and by enhancing your balance, flexibility, and strength, all of which reduce your chance of falling. To prevent fractures, the National Osteoporosis Foundation recommends skeletal loading with high and low-impact weight-bearing exercises for at least 30 minutes per day, 5–7 days a week: 

  • Weight-bearing exercises are the most evidence-based treatment and prevention method for osteoporosis and fracture prevention. Weight-bearing exercises make you work against gravity, and they can include hiking, jogging, playing tennis, dancing, or even pushing the lawnmower. If you enjoy walking, try attaching weights to your ankles, or walk up steep inclines or stairs.
  • Resistance exercises target the major muscle groups attached to the hip and spine, and the muscle strain and mechanical loading encourages bone growth. Resistance exercises could involve free weights, or even body weights in your lounge, including lunges and squats.
  • Balance activities can include tai chi or yoga, which can improve your body’s stability while moving or standing still.
  • Flexibility exercises may also include tai chi and yoga, as well as gentle stretching, to improve the range of motion of your joints and muscles. 
  • Strength exercises such as lifting weights, or low-impact pilates or barre classes, can improve your body’s ability to develop and maintain strong muscles.

Tip: You don’t need to leave your home to attend classes to improve your balance, flexibility, or strength. A quick search on Google and Youtube, and you’ll find an array of free Yoga, Barre, and Tai Chi classes available at your fingertips.

  1. Reduce Your Risk Fractures From Falls:

Fractures happen when weakened bone is overloaded, which can often happen simply by falling or even doing certain daily chores around the home. This means it’s important to reduce your risks of falls by addressing both your personal and environmental factors: 

Personal factors: These refer to factors relating to you – you may be more likely to fall if your reflexes have slowed over time, meaning you’re less able to react quickly to a sudden shift in body position that might happen from tripping over a rug, for example. You may also lose muscle mass and strength as you age, and vision and hearing changes can also decrease your balance, as can alcohol and certain medications. If you have chronic health conditions that affect your circulation, sense of touch in your feet, mobility or alertness, you’re also more likely to fall.

To improve your personal safety:

  • Try to do exercises and stay active to maintain balance, muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Book appointments to have your vision and hearing checked regularly and treated if necessary.
  • Make a phone call to discuss your medications and health conditions with your doctor to ensure that none of them (or their combination) could contribute to falls.

Environmental factors: No matter your age, it’s wise to ensure your environment is safe to reduce the risk that someone may fall and break a bone in your home. 

To improve your indoor safety:

  • Move electrical cords and telephone lines out of walkways and keep rooms free from clutter, especially the floors.
  • Check that carpets and rugs have skid-proof backing and aren’t turning up at the corners, including carpeting on stairs.
  • Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes with excellent grip even at home, and avoid walking around in socks, stockings, or floppy slippers.
  • Use a slip-resistant bath mat in the shower and bath, and if you’re unstable on your feet, consider installing grab bars on bathroom walls, or using a plastic chair with a back and nonskid leg tips in the shower.
  • Keep your rooms and stairways well-lit, use nightlights throughout your home, and keep a torch with extra batteries in your bedside drawer. 
  1. Use Low Intensity Vibration At Home To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures

Using low intensity vibration (LiV) has been found to encourage the body to create healthy bone and muscle, and improve overall bone health,, reducing the risk of fractures in a range of people with different ages, and health conditions. 30Hz vibrations have been shown to build bone and muscle in the hip and spine of young women with osteoporosis, promote volumetric bone density in the proximal tibia of children with conditions such as cerebral palsy, enhance bone quality in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis, and help protect balance control in those subject to chronic best rest. 

The best LiV tool currently available on the market is the Marodyne LiV. Marodyne is a modern device that has been recognised by the Royal Osteoporosis Society as an effective and safe effective tool for preventing fractures by reducing the risk of osteoporosis and improving bone health. Its mechanism of action is grounded in the principles of exercise, where the musculoskeletal system responds to ground reaction forces, loading a person’s bone tissue with high and low frequency mechanical signals. These signals increase bone and muscle mass, and quality, by encouraging the body to produce new bone. By increasing both muscle and bone mass and strength, this can reduce the incidence of bone fractures.

Marodyne does not require a prescription, is safe to use at home, and is suitable for both prevention in healthy individuals and for treatment for those with weaker bones. Doctor Clinton Rubin Ph.D., distinguished State University of New York professor and global authority on vibration therapy, advocates whole body vibration platforms such as Marodyne. He recommends a minimum of 10 minutes per day, explaining that the most effective method for success is using the Marodyne LiV every single day. A growing body of evidence is indicating that using multiple cycles of vibration therapy a day, has many beneficial bone-building effects. 

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Fractures Today

You can start improving your health, managing your osteoporosis or osteopenia, and reducing your risks of fractures by utilising these preventative strategies today together with the use of the Marodyne LiV at home. Marodyne is a simple, easy and effective solution for osteoporosis. It can be utilised by all age ranges, all physical abilities, without the need for repeat prescriptions or GP visits, and without strenuous or unmanageable exercise. 

Marodyne LiV is available exclusively from Rehacare. To purchase the device, or for any questions, please contact Harish Mitter on 1300 653 522.


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