Bone density scan due

I thought this may be of interest to some female runners

I was diagnosed with osteoporosis when i was 26yrs(I am now 38) and am still running AND told I can do marathons every other year AND no longer have osteoporosis( but have osteopenia in my lumbar spine)

From 25-26yrs I had 3 metatarsal stress fractures and one tibial stress fracture: hence my referral for a bone scan

I was amennhoreic for 6mnths when I was 15yrs( due to depression and not wanting to eat 'cos I didn't want to live......NOT an eating disorder). My periods have been regular since then. There is a strong family history of osteoporosis.

i am 5ft6 and now weigh 8st7lbs

when i was competing at an elite level(1hr26 for a half marathon) my weight was nearer 7st7lbs; but I still had periods

i was put on FOSSAMAX for 3yrs, My bone density increased

I am now only on CALCICHEW D3 FORTE. I have bone scans every 2yrs(DEXA Scans). Every 2yrs my bone density has been creeping upimage

My consultant is great. he says I can train for a marathon every other year.I have my bone scan in November this year. I am hoping to see further increase in bone density

i have had no stress fractures for 12yrs. I eat a good diet and ensure when I am marathon training I take carbohydrate and protein recovery drinks

many long distance runners do have osteoporosis: BUT ALL IS NOT LOST. YOU DO NOT NECESSARILY HAVE TO GIVE UP THE SPORT YOU LOVE:image I AM LIVING PROOF


  • Bambi thanks for your post, I definitely found that of interest. As a fairly slight 7st 11lbs woman who is patently rubbish at making sure I get a decent calcium intake and who doesn't do any other load bearing exercise, osteoporosis or the threat of it is something of a worry.

    Your story is pretty amazing and I'm glad that you're continuing to do so well. Congratulations for keeping going and acheiving so much and keep up the good work.
  • Just picked up on this, I have been told that I have osteoporosis in my spine and my hips are osteopaenic, I have been having five yearly bone scans since my mid 40's (now 53) and have seen a gradual decrease in density.

    I have been advised to cut back on running - about 30 miles a week and I do nothing longer than 1/2 marathons - but I am not sure how to take this advice based on your comments.

     I have also been given Calcichew, which I have not yet taken as I concerned about the side effect of constipation.

     Any advice would be appreciated.

  • I take calcichew D3 Forte and have no problems with side effects

    My bone density has been gradually increasing- you say yours has been decreasing. If mine was decreasing- I certainly would not be running marathons. i think your advice is good.

    If you have osteoporosis: have you been prescibed bisphosphonates( fossamax)?. I took fossamax when I was osteoporotic with great benefit.

    I suggest if you want to keep running you should; but at the levels suggested to you.

  • Hi

     GP felt that as I was only just classed as osteoporotic in the spine the Calcichew would be sufficient.  I have upped my calcium intake, have Ready Brek, eat sardines, take more milk and yoghurt etc etc.

    I was advised to put weight on (5' tall 7stone) to go up to 7½stone and to reduce running - but from what I am reading the jury seems to be out on how much running is good/bad for you - I am happy to stick to no longer than ½ marathon distance so will do this and do some strength work in the gym, although I hate the gym, can't bear exercising indoors, although I will walk to the gym as it is close enough to do this.

    So it does sound as if bone density can increase - so may be there is hope, at 5' I don't really want to lose any height!


  • Hi folks, thanks for your post Bambi, it is really interesting.  My mum had osteoporisis, and it was getting worse, but i'm not sure if that was due to the fact she was on chemo for cancer (can that affect it? Not sure).  Anyway, it is something I do wonder about at times, specifically if it is hereditary or not.  I know weight bearing exercise helps, but as you say Whizzy, too much running can have a negative effect when osteoporosis is at a certain level.

    I have heard that yoga is really good old yoga teacher used to say that even doing the sun salutations once a day can help in terms of osteoporosis.  Might be worth speaking to the doctor.  It is certainly weight bearing, but there is no impact, so might be of benefit.

  • Just had my routine 2yearly bone density scan(DEXA scan)

    i am pleased to report that my bone density is still improvingimage

    My spine shows a 24% improvement since 1996 and hips a 14% improvement

    The consultants letter said this was "remarkable"

    i have an appt to discuss the scan in a couple of weeks. Will discuss what running I can/can't do and will follow his advice.

  • Thanks for this image

    I did have an eating disorder when I ws 16-18 and had osteoperosis diagnosed when I was 18. My bones recovered when I did but...I relapsed, my bones got bad- not as bad as before but nearing osteoperosis. I gained weight again, held a near overweight level for about 2-3 bones didn't get that much better. I got my ever increasing weight under control (now a BMI 20) its been that way for nearly a year now but my bones have gotten bad again.

    My periods stopped but its due to stress rather then weight related (my periods normally remained until a BMI 17). I wont bore you with the reasons but its safe to say if I did, you'd understand! I had a scan 1.5 years ago and my next is due the end of the year. I have also found out I have digestion issues with dairy which is very sad for me as I love dairy and miss it a great deal, but it means I don't look like I am pregnant, feel wasted and sick so no go for dairy. I do take vitamin D3 and calcium pills but am so rubbish with remembering! I can't take antidepressants for this reason. I used to and for 5 years I constantly forgot and had to live with the side effects, you'd think within 5 years something in me would click and remember each day!!

    I know osteoperosis runs in my family, its worrying. I had thought once you hit 25-30 you can't make your bones better again but after reading your post I'm feeling much better!

    I used to be on calcichew but my GP swapped me to something called Adcai-D3 which isn't the same and I preferred calcichew, I'd imagine it was a cost saving excuse and as the NHS is already seemingly on its knees it doesn't seem right to demand they swap me back again, I know I wont blow the budget but I want to help and I've already costed enough money in tests and injuries! OP, would you suggest anything other then vitamin D3 and calcium pills? I don't think they are doing enough for me.

  • Hello everyone

    I've just recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis which was a huge shock considering I've been running and competing since I was 13 years old and now 51!!  My bone density has reduced 4.5% in the last 2 years when it was borderline then but the doc didn't think I needed to do anything about it then.  The comment I noticed about metatarsal fractures prompted me to write here as in the last few months I've been getting pain in my feet, especially the toes and also the heel which I put down to plantar fasciitis but now I'm wondering if the osteoporosis is contributing to the pain in my foot and do I have a stress fracture.  Does anyone have an opinion on this.  I've been limping on the right hand side also because of this but I also put this down to the fact that I have a bunion on the left foot!!  Basically, I'm a walking mess!  But I love running that much I really need to sort this one out.  Would welcome any useful comments!

  • Hi Shazza Bazza

    Osteoporosis diagnosis can come as a huge shock. I hope you are coping ok.

    My stress fractures were acutely tender to press on. They all came on during a run and I couldn't continue running. i am not sure from your post if you are still running......;but I certainly couldn't run on my stress fracture as it was too painful. Another thing that helped diagnose a stress fracture was an XRay and MRI scan of the metatarsals. Stress fractures don't always show up on an x ray;but a healing stress fracture usually does. Another indicator I had a stress fracture was that ultrasound over the site was VERY painful and had to be stopped immediately.

    I do know that as you get post menapausal your oestrogen levels drop and your bone density tends to drop too. The Osteoporosis Society do a very good booklet called "fit but fragile"( at least they used to). It makes a useful read.



  • I had a stress fracture in my tibia about a year ago. It was missed on an xray and on an MRI (swelling was picked up) but was picked up on a nuclear bone scan.


    First go to your GP and let him/her know you have this diagnosis then explain your foot pain and then- and possibly as importantly, explain that metatarsal fractures are common for runners, most GPs have little if any experience of the problems runners have, they tend to know everything to do with basic issues such as flue and the elderly and obesity but if my GP is anything to go by, you end up needing to educate them and then asking for your referral for a scan! It may need to go through a process though such as x-ray followed by MRI followed by Nucelar bone scan just to go through their protocol but it could be they've stopped the costly paperwork and have just decided to use their heads and watch their purses accodingly!

  • Thank you Bambi and Jenn.  I'm due to see the doc (but not the one that gave me the bad news) on Friday to talk about my foot pain.  I would like to be referred for a scan, do you think if I asked for one then she would refer straight for the scan or might she suggest that I see a podiatrist first?  I've been through all the different professionals, ie. chiropractor, physio and also had a biomechanical analysis running on the treadmill to which I had orthotics prescribed and wearing mostly but not really getting rid of the foot pain.  So, if she did try and refer me to the podiatrist I wouldn't be best pleased as I think it may be a waste of time.

  • I know people who have had fairly acute foot pain who have just gone straight to A and E. Some get fobbed off....l;but some get an x ray. It is worth a thought......

    I was lucky as my GP at the time was a runner. They referred me for scans before I had the diagnosis of osteoporosis. It was the stress fractures that got the "alarm bells ringing" that I had a low bone density.

    Like you, I saw a podiatrist and have orthotics. Part of the reason I got stress fractures was biomechanical. I think if you already run with orthotics- like you say,referral to a podiatrist may not be neceassary.

    if you know you have a low bone density and you have an acutely tender spot on a metatarsal-this is a good indicator you have a stress fracture. If your foot pain is more generalised- it could be something else. I hope your Dr is sympathetic and you get your referral. If not......I'd take a trip to A and E.......


  • Thanks Bambi, food for thought and I will definitely consider A & E if doc is negative.  I'll let you know how I get on after the appt tomorrow.  I ran in a trail race last night and my foot was very sore after and today it is and I'm also limping so I think I'm going to take some time off running for now and wait to see what doc says.

  • How did your appt go Shazza Bazza?

    I hope you got some useful input from the Dr regarding your foot injury.

    I think you are right to REST from running until you get your foot sorted

  • Hi Bambi

    The doc was actually sympathetic and listened to me!  She's suggested an x ray first which I'm having on Friday, although I did say to her that if it's a fracture then it won't show up.  She made some comment about the NHS finances and all that.  What she did say though was that if it isn't a fracture, then it could be Mortons Neuroma.  She's asked me to go back to her with the results when I get them and then see how we proceed from there.  At least she's listening!  Thanks for your interest and will let you know what happens

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