Broken bones due to Prednisone?

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New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 10/18/2007 10:22 AM (GMT -6)   
I've been battling a flare now for about two months.  Started on the Prednisone five weeks ago.  Went up to 40 mg a week ago because 30 mg wasn't doing the trick.  about two weeks ago, my PCP tells me to think about a bone density test because of the Prednisone and three nights ago, I went to my Dad's to bring him something after work and I twisted my foot on a sidewalk and broke my foot!  I've never broken a bone in my life and have always had very strong bones.  I'm assuming it's due to the steroids.  My bm's have now increased and what a struggle it is to try to get to the bathroom all the time before having an accident while trying to maneuver a broken foot.  I can't even believe this.  Now, I'm told that a possible side effect of Prednisone is a blood clot and having a broken foot, it puts me at double risk.  I'm very scared and can't even believe this is happening.  Through two months of this flare, I've only missed work twice and now I have no choice but to be out of work.  My boss asked me if maybe a cab could bring me in but the doctor told me he doesn't want me at work period.  He said I can do some work from home if I feel like it but my boss did not like that idea that much.  I was out on disability two years ago for 10 weeks when I was first diagnosed with the UC so I'm afraid he's going to fire me over this one.  The doc also told me this break would probably have healed in three weeks but because of the Prednisone it may take up to six weeks!  sad
38 years old - female
diagnosed 9/05

schrek-chewbacca hunk
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 2666
   Posted 10/18/2007 11:19 AM (GMT -6)   

I don't think you have been on pred long enough to have bone density issues - but I would speak to your doctor about it - you may be more inclined toward osteoporosis.  I have charkot breaks/fractures in both my feet which has caused them to collapse...but that is after 7 years on and off steroids.

I would definetely get the scan though.

love to all


Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 10/18/2007 1:33 PM (GMT -6)   

I agree. I don't think you've been on pred long enough or at a high enough dose to affect bone density, UNLESS you've been on it before for an extended time and/or high dose. However, if you're a small-boned, white female at perimenopausal age, you're already at risk for osteoporosis, pred or no pred.

If you have a doctor's note and are willing to work from home, I don't see how your boss could object.

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999
C-scope confirmed UC diagnosis 9/18/2007
No explanation for right side pain and thickening of bowel wall
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine, back on a pred taper for first flare in years
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice and Mucosaheal.

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 10/18/2007 8:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for the input.  I've only been on Prednisone for about five weeks now but I was on it for eight months when I was first diagnosed.  Most of that time I was on 20 mg and tapered as tolerated over the eight months.  I'm not sure if that would be long enough to cause bone density issues.   This is so difficult living by myself and having no one to help.  I always put myself out for my family members (most of the time to my detriment) and now when I need help, all I get are phone calls and no one can be bothered to assist for even an hour.    Very depressing and disappointing.  Sorry.  I just needed to vent.  I've never been at such a low point in my life.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 10/18/2007 9:55 PM (GMT -6)   

I was on pred for about eight months (40mg) tapering on and off during the whole time.   I was sent for a bone density test and found out to my dismay that I'd gone from strong healthy bones to skinny fragile ones, all thanks to the wonderdrug prednisone.

Now I'm on daily calcium and 'D' plus a fortnightly dose of fosavance (70mg) just to ensure they don't get any worse.

My knees and hips are starting to give me some gyp too but I suspect that is a joint/cartilage problem (probably arthritis) and might have nothing to do with prednisone, although it makes you wonder.

I can only hope I never have to take it again.

Considering your age you should be able to get your bones back to normal with calcium.


Regular Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 260
   Posted 10/19/2007 8:00 AM (GMT -6)   
I think the most disturbing part of this post is that fact that nobody will help you when you need it most.  Sorry to hear you're not getting the physical/emotional help you need.  Guess that's where we come in.  At least on this board, we can talk to each other, and everybody here will understand what you're going through.  That way, you know you're not alone.  Whenever you need support, we're always here for you (and everyone else).

---Nathan---  31 yr old male
Diagnosed May 2006 w/severe UC
Currently in mild/moderate flare
2 400mg Asacol 4X day
20 mg Prednisone
1 multivitamin/day
2 grams calcium/day
75mg Imuran/day
100mg Tramadol/day for abdominal pain (as needed)
1 Fioricet ever 4 hrs as needed for severe migraines

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 2204
   Posted 10/19/2007 9:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Eight months is a long time to be on pred, although 20 mg is a relatatively low dose. Bone thinning could have taken place during that time, although you won't know for sure what's going on until you have a scan. That's definitely a good idea... and it's quick, non-invasive and painless.

If you do find you have osteopenia - the precusor to osteoporosis - calcium supplementation will help, but more importantly... weight bearing exercise and weight training made a huge difference for me.
Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis spring 1999
C-scope confirmed UC diagnosis 9/18/2007
No explanation for right side pain and thickening of bowel wall
Maintenance dose sulfasalazine, back on a pred taper for first flare in years
Probiotics, l-glutamine and fish oil caps. George's aloe vera juice and Mucosaheal.

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 10/19/2007 9:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Ive been on pred for about 8 weeks, and im schedualed for a bone density test next Tuesday, just so we have a base line to start on. That way, if I have to continue with the pred. they have something to go by and can tell if there is any bone loss or not. It would be a wise thing to get done, just to have the information ready. Its only a 10 minute test.
Just diagnosed Aug. 14/07
Asacol 8 / day (5-Aminosalicylic Acid 400mg)
Pred. 50mg
Cortafoam (butt mousse, not emima)
Florastor Probiotic

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 648
   Posted 10/19/2007 10:08 AM (GMT -6)   
I'm so sorry that you feel so alone. I've felt that way and it's a horrible feeling. In my case, it was my brain imagining I was alone. Not saying that's what's happening to you because I don't know, but I will concede that it is an awful feeling.

Please know that others here would be there for you physically were you close by, but in the meantime, we would like to be there for you via cyberspace. We all know what you are going through with this illness, and some of us understand the aloneness that you are feeling as well.

It always helps me to imagine that others are thinking about me, as I think about them, and recognize that we are never so alone as we think we are. Some people just do not understand that you really, really need help unless you hit them over the head with it. Perhaps it's time to be more assertive and/or explain to them that their lack of response makes you feel alone, and that on top of your illness really hurts you. Ask them if you can count on them for X, Y or Z (be very particular) and see if they don't respond.

If they don't, I'm sure that will hurt. But remember that we are here for you, albeit not in the face-to-face way.

Sporadic proctitis since about 1985. Mother had UC, then J-pouch surgery 1983.
DX'd with clostridium difficile in 2000. Prednisone, two courses of Flagyl, then Vancomycin finally got rid of it. Symptomatic with UC after that.
Colonoscopy in 2001 dx'd left-sided UC. Was pretty darn ill at that time. Treated with prednisone, Rowasa, Asacol. Asacol not working so switched to Imuran. Three small flares since in 2002, 2005, and 2007.
Gall bladder attack 6/13; ultrasound showed stones; surgery before end of 2007.
100 mg Azathioprine and 225 mg Effexor XR (for chronic, longstanding depression) daily.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 3402
   Posted 10/19/2007 1:44 PM (GMT -6)   
masscs - sorry to hear that your family is not there for you! This is a difficult disease to deal with. I'm so glad to have the support of this forum :) There is usually someone on at any time. I've gotten the lift I needed and the kick in the pants when needed too from my friends here.

Venting is always allowed here! Plus you know we'll understand and not tell you - it's all in your head or maybe you should eat better! Grrr... Those lines make me crazy!

Hang in there :)
Pan-colitis and GERD diagnosed May 2003
Asacol 12 per day,  Azathioprine 75mg, Rowasa and Canasa as needed
Aciphex, Effexor XR, BCP, Rhinocort nasal spray
Forvia and a Probiotic
Osteopenia (hip and spine) from prednisone use.  Started Azathioprine because I was steroid dependent.
Co-Mod for the UC forum
Keep HealingWell running smoothly:

New Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 12
   Posted 10/21/2007 8:30 AM (GMT -6)   

Thanks for the support and suggestions everyone.  Once I'm able to get around again, I will make sure I go for a bone denisty test.  Also, my sister has come through and has really helped me out the last few days so I am getting a lof of family support now.  I've also learned to speak up and ask for help for things that I specifically need.   Unfortunately, I was having a lot of pain in the calf of the foot that I broke and my sister took me to the hospital yesterday.  Turns out, I now have a blood clot in my right leg behind my knee! It's been going from bad to worse!  To top it off, I had tapered the Prednisone a few days ago to 35 mg and seemed to be doing well but after I came home from the hospital last night, had a lot of blood and spent the night going back and forth to the bathroom.  I just can't seem to catch a break. 

Thanks again everyone.  I'm sorry that there are so many of you who are experiencing this lousy disease but it's good to know I'm not alone anymore!  And I have to agree with some of your comments about being sick of people who tell us to "stop stressing" and make sure you "eat right".  The nurse at the orthopedic doctor's office told me she "used to have colitis".  I asked her what she meant by "used to".  She said she had it 25 years ago and once she stopped "stressing out", that she was fine. 

Elite Member

Date Joined Mar 2003
Total Posts : 10407
   Posted 10/21/2007 8:54 AM (GMT -6)   
I was on Pred for almost a year, then switched to Entocort because it was supposed to have fewer of the bad side effects. I was taking Calcium and vitamin D from the start, because I knew about the osteoporosis issue. In total, I was on steroids for about five years because I got desparately sick every time I tapered off of them.

I broke both of the bones in my lower left leg, and still don't know when it happened. Because I have a lot of trouble with the joint pains sometimes associated with UC, I didn't go to the doctor right away, so ended up having to have surgery.

Now I've had two shoulder surgeries because the steroids caused an extremely painful avascular necrosis which was killing the boney tissue.

I don't know if I could do anything differently if I had it to do over again, because at that time none of the newer treatments were approved for UC. Now, I'd much rather take Remicade and take my chances on its side effects than to let steroids painfully destroy my bones.
Left-sided UC diagnosed 2001.  Taking Colazal and Imuran, Remicade infusions and moving into remission. Finally off steroids after four years! 
Now in remission for almost two years. Remicade has been my wonder drug.
"If you spend your time second-guessing your past decisions, you'll never have time to enjoy today."

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