Transient Osteoporosis

...less medical jargon in a 'Quick Glance' format!

Transient Osteoporosis of the hip is a condition that occurs for unknown reasons. The condition is characterized by spontaneous onset of hip pain associated with X-Ray evidence of osteoporosis of the hip. This condition usually resolves on its own within six months to a year.


  • Sudden onset of pain, typically in the front of the thigh, the side of the hip, the buttocks or the groin.
  • No previous accident or injury to the joint that would trigger pain.
  • Limited motion; pain intensifies with turning movements.
  • Pain intensifies with weight bearing and may lessen with rest.
  • Pain gradually increases over a period of weeks or month and may be so intense that it is disabling.
  • A change in gait as the patient tries to protect the joint and ease the pain.

  • Cause:
    As yet, there is no clear explanation for what causes this condition. Although it is most common in the hip joint, multiple joints may be affected.

    This condition generally resolves by itself over 6 to 12 months. Treatment focuses on preventing any damage while bones are weakened by osteoporosis. If you are pregnant, this condition increases your risk of a hip fracture.

  • Your physician may prescribe a mild pain reliever.

  • Using crutches, a cane, or other walking aids will help relieve the stress of weight bearing on the joint.

  • To help maintain strength and flexibility in the muscles, your physician may also recommend a series of flexibility and range-of-motion exercises that you can do as the pain subsides. Aquatic exercises may be helpful not only because they ease movement, but also because they relieve weight bearing.

  • Promising Treatment
    "Transient osteoporosis of the navicular bone in a runner"
    11/20/2003 By Mary Beth Nierengarten

    Treatment with alendronate may permit athletes with transient osteoporosis to return earlier to high-level activities, reports a German study.

    Treatment is considered a self-limited disorder, is controversial with some clinicians preferring core decompression and others preferring conservative management that includes treatment of symptoms and avoidance of weight-bearing. Use of the bisphosphonate, alendronate, has only been described in one previous article, which reported a benefit to reducing symptoms and fracture risk. Since bisphosphonates inhibit bone resorption, which is linked to increased bone mineral density and reducing fracture risk, as well as reduce pain in osteolytic metastases and multiple myeloma, it is thought that these agents can treat transient osteoporosis by inhibiting inflammation and reducing pain.

    In this study, O Miltner, MD, and colleagues, Orthopaedic Department of the UK Aachen, report on the use of alendronate in an unusual case of transient osteoporosis of the navicular bone of the foot in a 20-year-old female sprinter. Only 2 other cases of the navicular bone have been reported, with most disorders usually occurring in the proximal femur.

    In this case study, transient osteoporosis of the navicular bone was diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) after the patient's presenting symptoms of increasing pain upon weight-bearing and discomfort during rest didn't resolve with 8 days of treatment with stabilising dressing, crutches, and non-steroidal analgesics. Additional palliative treatment that included avoidance of weight-bearing and administration of calcium and vitamin D also failed to alleviate the patient's pain. Alendronate (70 mg) once a week for 12 weeks was then included as part of the overall management. After 2 weeks on alendronate, the patient reported reduced symptoms and after 9 weeks after original diagnosis, she was able to begin fitness activities. After 12 weeks of alendronate therapy, a follow-up MRI showed a complete resolution of her condition. No treatment-related side effects were reported.


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