Osteoporosis International

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 2461–2469 | Cite as

Bone strength and muscle properties in postmenopausal women with and without a recent distal radius fracture

  • K. Crockett
  • C. M. Arnold
  • J. P. Farthing
  • P. D. Chilibeck
  • J. D. Johnston
  • B. Bath
  • A. D. G. Baxter-Jones
  • S. A. Kontulainen
Original Article



Distal radius (wrist) fracture (DRF) in women over age 50 years is an early sign of bone fragility. Women with a recent DRF compared to women without DRF demonstrated lower bone strength, muscle density, and strength, but no difference in dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) measures, suggesting DXA alone may not be a sufficient predictor for DRF risk.


The objective of this study was to investigate differences in bone and muscle properties between women with and without a recent DRF.


One hundred sixty-six postmenopausal women (50–78 years) were recruited. Participants were excluded if they had taken bone-altering medications in the past 6 months or had medical conditions that severely affected daily living or the upper extremity. Seventy-seven age-matched women with a fracture in the past 6–24 months (Fx, n = 32) and without fracture (NFx, n = 45) were measured for bone and muscle properties using the nondominant (NFx) or non-fractured limb (Fx). Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) was used to estimate bone strength in compression (BSIc) at the distal radius and tibia, bone strength in torsion (SSIp) at the shaft sites, muscle density, and area at the forearm and lower leg. Areal bone mineral density at the ultradistal forearm, spine, and femoral neck was measured by DXA. Grip strength and the 30-s chair stand test were used as estimates of upper and lower extremity muscle strength. Limb-specific between-group differences were compared using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA).


There was a significant group difference (p < 0.05) for the forearm and lower leg, with the Fx group demonstrating 16 and 19 % lower BSIc, 3 and 6 % lower muscle density, and 20 and 21 % lower muscle strength at the upper and lower extremities, respectively. There were no differences between groups for DXA measures.


Women with recent DRF had lower pQCT-derived estimated bone strength at the distal radius and tibia and lower muscle density and strength at both extremities.


Distal radius fracture Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) Musculoskeletal properties Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) 



We would like to acknowledge the funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF) for the support of the Bone and Joint Imaging Group and their research at the University of Saskatchewan and to thank all the volunteers for their participation in the study. We would also like to thank Blanc Star, Valerie Wellans, Lauren Lattimer, Heidi Hunt, and Emma Burke for their assistance with data collection.

Conflicts of interest

Katie Crockett, Catherine M. Arnold, Jonathan P. Farthing, Philip D. Chilibeck, James D. Johnston, Brenna Bath, Adam D.G. Baxter-Jones, and Saija A. Kontulainen declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Crockett
    • 1
  • C. M. Arnold
    • 1
  • J. P. Farthing
    • 2
  • P. D. Chilibeck
    • 2
  • J. D. Johnston
    • 3
  • B. Bath
    • 1
  • A. D. G. Baxter-Jones
    • 2
  • S. A. Kontulainen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Physical Therapy, College of MedicineUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  2. 2.College of KinesiologyUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  3. 3.Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of EngineeringUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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