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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 1993 May;75(3):450-2.

Algodystrophy and osteoporosis after tibial fractures.

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University Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery, Bristol Royal Infirmary, UK.


We made a prospective study of the incidence and natural history of algodystrophy and associated changes in bone mineral density in the ankles and feet of 60 consecutive patients who had suffered unilateral fractures of the tibial shaft. At bone union, 18 patients showed signs of algodystrophy. Its development was independent of the type of fracture management and of the severity of injury. Patients with algodystrophy lost significantly more bone mineral than did those without but the degree of this loss was independent of the type of treatment and of the time to fracture union. In most cases the symptoms resolved within six months of fracture union but in four patients they were still present at one year and two of these had not returned to work.

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