assessment, bone loading, bone overloading, bone unloading, decision tree, intervention, osteoporosis, physical therapy



  1. Meeks, Sara M. PT, MS, GCS


The incidence and cost of osteoporosis is increasing. In the physical therapy setting, over half of persons aged 50 and above are at risk for these often silent and undiagnosed conditions. With direct access in patient care, it is becoming more important for physical therapists to recognize these conditions before assessment and intervention. Discussed are assessment procedures and a decision tree, which is based on the information obtained from bone density testing (DEXA). Physical therapy interventions with a focus on the forces on the skeleton are presented. With this information, therapeutic and safe exercise and movement programs can be designed. With a focus on alignment and strengthening of the back and hips and suggestions for progression of the program, the bottom line is prevention of fracture.