Effect of weight-bearing activities on bone mineral density in spinal cord injured patients during the period of the first two years

Spinal Cord. 2008 Nov;46(11):727-32. doi: 10.1038/sc.2008.36. Epub 2008 Apr 29.


Study design: Prospective study on patients with spinal cord injuries.

Objectives: To evaluate the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) in various body regions of patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) and its dependence on weight bearing activities during 2 years post injury.

Methods: BMD of the whole body was measured in patients with SCI. Baseline measurement was performed in 6-16 weeks after SCI, the second and the third-respectively 12 and 24 months after injury. Fifty-four subjects were selected and divided into two groups: standing and non-standing. From these groups 27 pairs were made according to gender, age and height.

Results: There was found to be a well-marked decrease in BMD values for lower extremities, but there was no significant difference between paraplegic and tetraplegic patients 1 and 2 year after injury. Leg BMD reduced by 19.62% (95% CI, 17-22%) in the standing group and by 24% (95% CI, 21-27%) in non-standing group during the first year. Two years after SCI patients in standing group had significantly higher leg BMD-1.018 g/cm(2) (95% CI, 0.971-1.055 g/cm(2)) than in the non-standing group-0.91 g/cm(2) (95% CI, 0.872-0.958 g/cm(2)) (P<or=0.0001).

Conclusion: SCI patients who performed daily standing >or=1 h and not less than 5 days per week, had significantly higher BMD in the lower extremities after 2 years in comparison to those patients who did not perform standing.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Bone Density / physiology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lower Extremity / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Paraplegia / physiopathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quadriplegia / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*
  • Young Adult