Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may have a risk of a stress fracture if they experience increased pain at a single site and if they have a history of steroid use. The study involved reviewing data on 24 stress fractures in 18 RA patients who were evaluated at a single center over a decade. All of the 18 patients were women, and they represented only 0.8% of the entire RA clinic population.
The results of the study, reported in the Annals of Rheumatic Diseases (December 2004), showed that 11 of 18 stress fracture patients were current oral corticosteroid users and 14 were past users. Furthermore, when the researchers matched the 18 RA stress fracture patients with 18 RA patients without stress fractures, they found that steroid use was more prevalent in stress fracture patients.