Exercise and Sports for Patients With XLH

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by Emily Malcolm |

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Mindfulness and XLH

X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is a genetic disease characterized by weak bones and teeth that are fragile and easily broken.

Some types of exercise can place too much stress on your bones and joints if you have XLH, so you should take extra care when exercising and engaging in sports.

Many school sports may not be safe for children with XLH.

The importance of exercise

Exercise is important for keeping bones strong. If you have XLH, you should work with a physiotherapist who can design a safe and healthy exercise routine for you to improve your strength and range of motion, as well as lower the risk of bone breaks or joint dislocations.

Exercising for adults with XLH

If you are an adult with XLH, you are most likely familiar with your limitations. However, you may see changes as you age; your symptoms may become more severe as bones become naturally softer with age. Adults with XLH are also at higher risk of pseudofractures, or bone breaks caused by loss of bone density rather than from force. As your symptoms change, you should adjust your exercise routine, with the approval of your physiotherapist.

Exercising for children with XLH

If you have a child with XLH, you should talk to school officials, as your child may need to be exempt from physical education classes. Since not being able to run or participate in sports with their peers can lead to feelings of isolation in children, teachers should consider having an alternate activity during physical education class periods to ensure that the child doesn’t just sit on the sidelines.

Safer exercises for patients with XLH

Low-impact activities such as swimming or walking are generally safer for XLH patients. Strength exercises with low weights can help build strength to support joints. Yoga and Pilates are low-impact activities that can help patients build strength and flexibility. However, take care not to over-flex or put too much torsion on fragile bones. This type of exercise should be supervised by a qualified instructor who is trained in helping patients with soft or fragile bones.

The symptoms and severity of XLH vary widely among patients, so an exercise that may be safe for one patient may not be safe for another. Talk to your treatment team about what exercises are safe for you.


Last updated: Jan. 14, 2020


XLH News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.