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What Is Paget’s Disease?

Paget’s disease is a condition that interferes with the body’s normal bone recycling process, causing new bone tissue to be produced much faster than needed to replace old bone tissue. This accelerated bone remodeling produces bone tissue that is softer and weaker than normal, which can lead to bone pain, an increased risk of fractures and other complications. Over time, Paget’s disease can also cause arthritis if an enlarged bone presses on a nearby joint.

Most often, the condition affects the bones in the pelvis, skull, spine and legs, although it can potentially affect any bone in the body. The causes are unknown.

What are the symptoms of Paget’s disease?

Paget’s disease does not always produce symptoms, and when it does, the symptoms can vary depending on which bones are affected:

  • Pelvis – Hip pain
  • Skull – Headaches and hearing loss, increasing hat size
  • Spine – Pain, numbness and tingling sensations that travel down an arm or leg
  • Legs – Bowed legs and osteoarthritis in the hips and knees

How is Paget’s disease treated?

Bisphosphonates, which are medications used to strengthen bones weakened by osteoporosis, are the mainstay of Paget’s disease treatment. The goals are to reduce bone pain, slow the progression of the condition and prevent complications.

In general, exercise is very beneficial for individuals who have Paget’s disease. With regular physical activity, it may be possible to maintain a healthy body weight, prevent joint stiffness and improve bone health. Any proposed exercise program should be discussed with a physician who can confirm that the planned activities can be safely performed without overly stressing the bones affected by Paget’s disease. For instance, for a patient who has Paget’s syndrome in his or her legs, a physician may suggest walking instead of running.

If you’d like to meet with a rheumatologist to discuss your options for managing your Paget’s disease symptoms, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine to request an appointment at our state-of-the-art orthopedic center in Houston, TX.