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Screening Postmenopausal Women for Fall and Fracture Prevention

Downey, Patricia A. PT, PhD, DPT1; Perry, Susan B. PT, DPT, NCS1; Anderson, Janice M. MD, FAAFP2

Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: July/September 2013 - Volume 36 - Issue 3 - p 138–145
doi: 10.1519/JPT.0b013e31827bc497
Special Interest Paper

Fragility fracture prevention has been historically associated with the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis. Given that the strongest determinant of fracture is falls, it is critical to add fall risk into clinical decision-making guidelines for fracture prevention. This special interest paper proposes an algorithm based on 2 validated tools: (1) World Health Organization's Fracture Risk Assessment Tool, which evaluates probability of fracture and (2) Functional Gait Assessment, which evaluates fall risk. Physical therapists can use this algorithm to better identify patients at greatest risk for fracture in order to customize interventions designed to promote bone health, minimize falls, and ultimately prevent fractures. Recommendations for referral, patient education, and exercise are provided for categories of varying fall and fracture risk.

1Chatham University Physical Therapy Program, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

2Forbes Family Medicine Residency Program, West Penn Allegheny Health System–Forbes Regional Hospital, Monroeville, Pennsylvania.

Address correspondence to: Patricia A. Downey, PT, PhD, DPT, Chatham University, Woodland Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15232 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2013 the Section on Geriatrics of the American Physical Therapy Association
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