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Keywords:

  • child fractures;
  • bone gain;
  • catch-up;
  • dual energy X-ray absorptiometry;
  • bone mineral content

Abstract

We have previously shown that girls with a recent distal forearm fracture have weaker skeletons than girls who have never fractured. This could be a transient or persistent phenomenon. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the bone mineral content (BMC) of girls with previous distal forearm fractures remains lower 4 years postfracture or if catch-up gain has occurred. We report baseline and follow-up dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) results for 163 girls: 81 girls from the original control group who remained free of fracture (group 1) and 82 girls from the original group with distal forearm fractures (group 2). In data adjusted for bone area, height, weight, and pubertal status, group 2 girls had 3.5-8.5% less BMC at the total body, lumbar spine, ultradistal radius, and hip trochanter than group 1 at baseline, and 2.4-5.7% less BMC at these sites at follow-up. Even girls from group 2 who did not experience another fracture after baseline (n = 58) did not display greater BMC at follow-up compared with baseline values at any site, indicating that the decreased BMC at the time of fracture had persisted. In group 2, the relative gain in BMC after adjusting for the initial BMC and current bone area, height, weight, and pubertal stage was less than or similar to, but not greater than that of group 1 (ratio [95% CI]: total body, 0.985 [0.972-0.998]; lumbar spine, 0.961 [0.935-0.987]; ultradistal radius, 0.968 [0.939-0.998]; hip trochanter, 0.955 [0.923-0.988]; femoral neck, 0.981 [0.956-1.007]; and 33% radius 0.999 [0.977-1.021]). These findings indicate that girls with distal forearm fractures do not improve their gain of BMC. We conclude that girls who have sustained a distal forearm fracture maintain their lower BMC at most sites for at least 4 years.