Essential components of physical therapist management of patients with osteoporosis: a delphi study

Review written by Dr Mariana Wingood info

Key Points

  1. For patients with osteoporosis, it is important to ask about current medications associated with fall risk and bone loss, bone health-related comorbidities, and history of fracture.
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Globally, about 200 million women have osteoporosis (OP) (1). OP is diagnosed via bone mineral density (BMD) tests. When the BMD results are compared to young adults, those with a standard deviation (SD) of -2.5 or greater are identified as having OP, and those with a BMD between -1 and -2.5 SD have osteopenia (1).

OP is associated with 9 million+ annual fractures globally, with Europeans having the greatest number of osteoporotic fractures (2). Among those who sustain an osteoporotic hip fracture, only about 20% return to their prior physical function (1). Thus, it is essential that physical therapists can examine, evaluate, and provide appropriate interventions to care for those diagnosed with OP.

The objective of this paper was to guide OP examination, evaluation, and intervention beyond specific exercises targeting bone mass.

Globally, about 200 million women have osteoporosis.
This study helps direct physical therapists with what to prioritize when completing an assessment or planning interventions for patients with osteoporosis.


A three-round modified Delphi was completed with 31 physical therapists with expertise in the care of patients with OP, who completed three sequential surveys until agreement was reached.

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