author: Larson CM, Henderson RC.
publication: J Pediatr Orthop. 2000 Jan-Feb;20(1):71-4.
The relationships between bone density, mobility, and fractures were assessed in 41 boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Bone density in the lumbar spine was only slightly decreased while the boys were ambulatory (mean z-score, -0.8), but significantly decreased with loss of ambulation (mean z-score, -1.7). In contrast, bone density in the proximal femur was profoundly diminished even when gait was minimally affected (mean z-score, -1.6), and then progressively decreased to nearly 4 standard deviations below age-matched normals (mean z-score, -3.9). These are consistent with the findings that 18 (44%) of the boys sustained a fracture, 66% of these fractures involved the lower extremities, and there were no spinal compression fractures. Furthermore, four (44%) of nine boys who were walking with aids or support at the time of fracture never resumed walking after the fracture. Osteoporosis is most profound in the lower extremities of boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and begins to develop early while still ambulating. Frequent fractures that may result in loss of ambulation are the clinical consequences.