BY NICOLAS FERNANDES
A mum with sensitive bones exercises every day despite having a rare condition that has caused her over 40 fractures and three strokes.
Devon Verno, of York, Pennsylvania, USA, suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, also known as Brittle Bone Disease, a genetic disorder that causes bones to break easily as well as other health problems.
The mother-of-three can break a bone doing a push up or pull a muscle from walking, but is so determined to stay in shape that she refuses to stop doing the exercises.
In the past, she has experienced fractures from activities such as plugging in a TV and her friend accidentally sitting on her hand on the couch.
Devon got into exercising so that she could lose weight after having her first child 14 years ago and has not stopped since.
The accident prone 38-year-old is extra careful with workouts, sticking to basic ones like walking, push ups and lifting dumbbells.
As cautious as she is, the mum finds herself pulling muscles and tearing ligaments on a regular basis in addition to breaking a bone every once in a while.
Devon, a property manager, said: “I’ve fractured my kneecap, broken my fingers and the top of my foot and even broke a rib trying to plug in a TV.
“Plugging in that TV was such a slight movement. I almost couldn’t believe that happened.
“I started my daily workouts after having my first daughter and then just kept doing them.
“I’ve broken my toes from doing push ups before, but I’m not going to stop.
“I’m the healthiest sick person you’ll ever see and it’s because of all these exercises.
“I have to be super careful with the workouts. I stay away from machines and I can’t do yoga, but I still get injured more often than I don’t.”
Despite the amount of time Devon spends doing these routines, her lack of collagen makes it very difficult for her to build muscle.
In addition, she often has to take a break from her routines after an injury.
She said: “It takes me a while to build muscle, especially when I have to tone down the workouts. There’s really nothing I can do about that.
“Even after the slightest injury I have to make sure I take a break. Once my body gets hurt, it’s really easy for another injury to occur.”
Rather than being worried, her family is always proud of her and encouraging her to keep up the exercising.
The mum said: “At first everyone was shocked, but for the most part I’ve been getting positive feedback.”
For a woman of her age, Devon is mostly satisfied with the shape she is in, although she would like to be five to seven pounds lighter.
However, the mother feels like she is in better shape than most people her age.
Devon said: “It definitely wouldn’t hurt to lose a little more weight, but overall I’m happy with my results.
“Most people at this age don’t really focus on staying in shape, but it’s something we all need to do.”
Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic mutation in the collagen that keeps the bones secure, according to Dr. Francis Glorieux, chairman of the Medical Advisory Council at the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.
“It is caused by an anomaly in the collagen of the bone. The collagen keeps the bone hard so that it can function properly. When the anomaly is present, it causes the bones to become brittle.”
Dr. Francis added: “In severe cases, rods can be put in the legs, arms and spine to keep the bones straight even when they fracture.
“One thing that is striking is the resilience of those with the disease. Despite their limitations, they are extraordinary. I have several patients who go to university every day on their wheelchairs.”