Less common types of osteoporosis

There are several unusual types of osteoporosis. In some ways they are similar to the general form of osteoporosis but they also have some differences in terms of symptoms, consequences and treatments.

Osteoporosis in Children

There is an unusual condition in young children called ‘idiopathic juvenile osteoporosis’ in which broken bones occur following minor levels of trauma without an apparent underlying problem. Sometimes, osteoporosis in children occurs because of other factors such as use of glucocorticoid steroids, brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) or because a child is immobile. For more information see our Factsheets Osteoporosis in children and Osteogenesis imperfecta and osteoporosis

Osteoporosis associated with pregnancy

This is a rare condition when bones, usually in the spine or hip, break easily during or after pregnancy. For more information see the Osteoporosis associated with pregnancy page

Transient migratory osteoporosis

This is a rare condition that can cause chronic pain and is associated with sudden loss of bone density, usually in a hip. This is unlike ‘ordinary’ osteoporosis, which is only painful when broken bones have occurred. The pain goes away eventually but sometimes recurs in another part of the body. Referral to a pain clinic may be necessary to help with the difficult pain problems associated with this condition.

Other bone conditions

Some medical conditions that are very different from osteoporosis have similar names or share the same causes, symptoms or treatments, and this can cause confusion.

Osteoarthritis

This is a different condition from osteoporosis and affects the joints in the body, causing them to become damaged. This can lead to pain, stiffness and loss of function in the joints. Hips, knees and knuckles can be affected and so can joints in the spine. Both osteoarthritis and osteoporosis occur more commonly as people age. In people with osteoporosis, symptoms of back pain may sometimes be due to the presence of osteoarthritis. For more information see our factsheet Osteoarthritis and osteoporosis

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

CRPS affects a hand, foot, wrist, ankle or knee but can spread up a whole limb. It may result in significant pain and disability. Loss of bone density in the affected area may occur as part of the syndrome. Although often triggered by a minor injury or previous broken bone, the reason for the continuous pain is poorly understood. Sometimes pain is traced to a specific nerve injury but sometimes not. Osteoporosis related to CRPS is, however, a localised problem and does not result in general osteoporosis. For more information see our Complex regional pain syndrome and osteoporosis

Osteogenesis imperfecta

Often called ‘brittle bone disease’, osteogenesis imperfecta is a genetic disorder of collagen, the protein that forms the framework for the minerals in bones. The collagen may be of poor quality, or there may not be enough to support the mineral structure of the bones. This results in a number of problems including bones becoming brittle and breaking easily. For more information see our factsheet Osteogenesis imperfecta and osteoporosis

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