May 31, 2023

Nourishing Your Bones: The Joint Link Between Nutrition, Physical Therapy, and Osteoporosis Management

As a physical therapist, I have witnessed the significant impact that diet, exercise, and therapeutic interventions can have on our overall well-being. Today, we delve into a topic of utmost importance: nutrition, physical therapy, and their role in managing osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, particularly women over the age of 50. It is characterized by weak and brittle bones, making individuals more prone to fractures and injuries. While factors such as age, genetics, and hormonal changes play a role in the development of osteoporosis, the combination of nutrition and physical therapy is crucial for effective management and prevention. Osteoporotic fractures are an important public health issue in the aging population and impose a major economic burden worldwide, leading to hospitalization, long periods of immobility, need of surgical treatment, increased disability and partial or complete loss of autonomy in daily activities.


The Impact of Nutrition

  • Bone metabolism, bone quality, fragility, fracture risk and fracture healing process are all influenced by the nutritional status.
  • Adequate dietary intakes of bone nutrients reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fracture in elderly life and improve overall bone health. 
  • Aging is often accompanied by malnutrition or undernutrition. Deficiency of nutritional factors appears to be strongly implicated in fracture in the osteoporotic elderly. 
  • In elderly subjects vitamin deficiency is common, particularly in osteoporotic patients and the improvement of their intake may help to treat and prevent osteoporosis.


Vitamins, Minerals, and Antioxidants

  • Vitamin D, calcium and antioxidants play an important role to prevent bone loss and the impaired fracture healing in elderly
  • Vitamin C supplementation accelerates fracture healing.
  • Antioxidants could help in the acceleration of fracture healing.
  • Daily consumption of dairy products, which is the best dietary source of calcium, maintains bone health and reduces osteoporosis due to.



  • Eat at least five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Eat 25 to 30 grams of fiber per day ( Examples: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals).
  • Drink at least 64 ounces of water each day.
  • Eat at least two servings of low-fat dairy each day (low-fat milk, cheese, etc).
  • Eat fish at least two times per week.
  • Limit sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams per day or less.
  • 1000 mg of calcium, 800 U of vitamin D, and 1 g/kg body weight of protein.


In the management of osteoporosis, nutrition and physical therapy go hand in hand. While nutrition provides the essential building blocks for bone health, physical therapy interventions play a pivotal role in optimizing bone strength, reducing the risk of fractures, and improving overall functional mobility. By embracing a holistic approach that combines proper nutrition recommendations from a registered dietician  and targeted physical therapy treatment from a board certified physical therapist, you can enhance your bone health and enjoy a better quality of life.


Chris Rusch, PT, DPT