Effects of Aging on Bones

“Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength. “ Betty Friedan (1921 – 2006)


Throughout life the skeletal system is constantly changing. It is the bodies structural support.  This is done through a process of bone formation and absorption called remodeling.  This relationship changes as aging occurs resulting in bone loss.  Which is not just seen in women after menopause but can also effect men.


There are some common changes that occur along with bone loss:

  • Change in mineral content so bones can be less dense and more fragile
  • Change in the cartilage due to previous joint trauma, joint fluid and membrane which cause the bones to rub together versus providing cushion, calcifications that are deposited in the joint and remain there.
  • Change in flexibility due to decrease in the elasticity of the ligaments, connective tissue, tendons, and muscles.
  • Muscle mass decreases and may be replaced fatty fibrous tissue


There are numerous common problems that are seen in regards to the changes seen in the bones as aging occurs:

  •        Osteoporosis
  •        Fractures: femurs, humerus, wrist
  •        Arthritis
  •        Changes in walking pattern (gait) which may require the use of a walker
  •        Muscle weakness, fatigue
  •        Loss in height
  •        Muscle contractures

PREVENTION (opportunity and strength)

There are numerous way to help combat the common problems seen with age related effects on the bone.  Exercise is one of the best ways to start combating these effects. This can be as simple as taking a small walk every day.  This will help to slow or prevent problems with the joints, muscles and bones.  Certain mineral replacement which is indicated by a healthcare provider to help strengthen weak bones.  Well balanced diet with calcium and vitamin D.  Completing a yearly physical by your primary care provider with routine preventive screening.


There are operative and non-operative treatments for the common problems mentioned above.  Those can range anywhere from physical therapy, pharmacological to total joint replacement surgery.  The providers at Specialty Orthopedic Surgery are happy to formulate a personalized treatment plan for you.

ritten by Lauren A. Schwartz NP-C, Nurse Practitioner

Speak Your Mind