Thursday, March 7, 2013

A Simple Test for Osteoporosis

At the very start of my Greenville, South Carolina walk Saturday on the Swamp Rabbit Trail, I took a quick, simple, and inexpensive medical test for osteoporosis.  Here is how it works, in case it is of use to others.

  1. You do not have to fast before taking this test, nor do you have to pee in a bottle.
  2. Pick a rainy day.  This is important so that the rocks along the way become very slick.
  3. Wear a pair of hiking boots, which grip well on trails, but not on rocks.  You can substitute shoes with worn out bottoms if you wish.  You don't want a lot of traction if you are to perform this medical test properly.
  4. Walk on a steep area with smooth rocks.
  5. You should, at this point, slip and fall.  It is important to be surprised when you fall, and not anticipate it.  Make sure you land on your hip when you take the fall, and make sure you make contact with a rock and not the ground - which may be too soft to give proper results.
  6. If you don't break your pelvis, hip joint or femur, you almost certainly do not have osteoporosis.
  7. However, if you do break one of these bones / joints, then there is at least a chance you do have osteoporosis, or some other bone weakening condition.  You should seek medical attention for further tests, as well as to be put into traction for 6-8 weeks.

Note - even if you don't break something, this - like many medical tests - is quite painful.  Your hip area will hurt for some days after the test.  So if you decide to repeat this test within a month - which is probably not medically necessary - do everything you can not to fall on the same hip.

I took my fall very shortly into my walk, going down a steep slope to get this photo of the waterfall:

I was glad to have passed my osteoporosis test successfully, and walked for several hours after falling and landing on my left hip.  I guess I am lucky that all these miles of walking and running have probably strengthened my bones.  But my hip is still a bit sore five days later!  It is not a "medical test" that I hope to repeat any time soon!


  1. Glad to hear you passed the test!!

    I've fallen three times this year so I guess I've passed the test too. : )

    Seriously though, sorry to hear that you fell.

  2. Yes, not a test you wish to flunk. That is my second fall in about six months - while backpacking near Mount Rogers, I was returning from the spring with my arms full of water bottles, tripped over a rock, and landed flat on my face!

    Glad you were OK, too. Keep walking and keep those bones strong, Karen.