The Bone Health Center

Integrated Bone Health at TOCA focuses on interdisciplinary personalized care. We are here to help. Let us identify any factors that place you at high risk for sustaining a fall or fracture.

Bone basics

Some people think of bones as hard and lifeless, but they are actually living, growing tissue. Your bones are made up of three major components that make them flexible and strong:

  • Collagen, a protein that gives bones a flexible framework
  • Calcium-phosphate mineral complexes that make bones hard and strong
  • Living bone cells that remove and replace weakened sections of bone

Did you know… throughout your life, you constantly lose old bone while you make new bone?

Children and teenagers form bone faster than they lose bone.

Even after children and teens stop growing taller, they continue to make more bone than they lose. This means their bones continue getting denser until they reach what experts call Peak Bone Mass, the point when you have the greatest amount of bone you will ever have.

Peak Bone Mass usually happens between the ages of 18 and 25. The more bone you have at the time of Peak Bone Mass, the less likely you are to break a bone or get osteoporosis later in life.

As you age, you can lose more bone than you form.

After you reach Peak Bone Mass, the balance between bone formation and bone loss might start to change. You may start to slowly lose more bone than you form. In midlife, bone loss usually speeds up in both men and women. For most women, bone loss increases after menopause, when estrogen levels drop sharply. In fact, in the five to seven years after menopause, women can lose up to 20% or more of their bone density. Osteoporosis happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone, or both.

It’s never too late at any age to take steps to protect your bones.

What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones. It happens when you lose too much bone, make too little bone or both. As a result, your bones become weak and may break from a minor fall or, in serious cases, even from simple actions, like sneezing or bumping into furniture.

Osteoporosis means “porous bone.” If you look at healthy bone under a microscope, you will see that parts of it look like a honeycomb. If you have osteoporosis, the holes and spaces in the honeycomb are much bigger than they are in healthy bone. This means your bones have lost density or mass and that the structure of your bone tissue has become abnormal. As your bones become less dense, they also become weaker and more likely to break.

Our Bone Experts

Our Physician’s Assistants

Ashlyn Sala, PA-C

Physician Assistant to Dr. Cummings (The Bone Health Clinic)

Ashlyn Sala is a board-certified Physician Assistant working in The Bone Health Clinic at The Orthopedic Clinic Association. Ashlyn received her Bachelor of Science in Molecular & Cellular Biology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. She then continued her education at Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ, where she received her Master of Medical Science in Physician Assistant Studies. She received clinical training in a variety of medical specialties, including family medicine, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, general surgery and psychiatry. She also received training in orthopedics, including a clinical rotation in orthopedic surgery with Dr. Cummings at The Orthopedic Clinic Association. This sparked her passion for bone health and orthopedics, prompting her to join The Orthopedic Clinic Association in September 2018.

Top Doctors for 20 years and counting!

Phoenix Magazine has consistently awarded TOCA doctors with the coveted Top Doctor award since 1996 – the very first year the award was introduced!

Find your TOCA clinic

Glendale • Phoenix • Scottsdale • Tempe