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Snedeker treated for rare bone condition

Brandt Snedeker appears to have finally found the cause of his recurring rib fractures: a condition known as low bone turnover.

“I had everything tested and they found this one anomaly in my DNA,” Snedeker, 32, told Golf Magazine in an interview last week. “What it boils down to is that my ribs are just really brittle compared to the rest of my bones. So I’m on this medication that is supposed to strengthen your bones and keep this stuff from happening.”

The medication, Forteo, is an anabolic osteoporosis treatment designed to increase bone mineral density.

Snedeker, the world’s fifth-ranked player, said he has been injecting the drug daily for the last two months and that it conforms to the PGA Tour’s drug policy. “I made sure it’s okay to take,” he said. “It’s a drug that’s going to help me keep my bones from being less than brittle to being up to par.”

He said that the medication can take up to two years to “make a big difference,” and that he has encountered some side effects, including nausea and dizzy spells at night.

“But hopefully in the grand scheme of things, it will be worth the investment,” he said.

Bone turnover, or remodeling, is a natural process by which the body, in very basic terms, sheds mature bone and replaces it with new, supple bone, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia. (Adults remodel about 10 percent of their bone tissue annually.) If, as in Snedeker’s case, the turnover rate is too slow, it can lead to brittle bone structure.

The condition is highly unusual for a man of Snedeker’s age, said Dr. Donald A. Bergman, a New York City-based specialist and past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.

“It’s generally seen in the elderly, because as you get older, you have fewer and fewer of these bone-forming cells,” he said.

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