Age-related Orthopaedic Conditions

Age related orthopaedic conditions frequently decreases the ability to remain mobile, cause discomfort and pain and reduces the ability to lead a quality lifestyle, requiring alterations to daily activities. Ageing is a process which is spontaneous and cannot be avoided. However, age-related problems can be avoided if proper nutrition and care is provided.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder indicated by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissues. Osteoporosis can be grouped into systemic and local. Local osteoporosis is due to fractures, rheumatoid arthritis, tumours, muscular paralysis or tendon ruptures. Our bone is frequently undergoing remodelling, forming new bone cells in the process. However, osteoporosis causes an imbalance between this bone forming, causing low bone mineral density and poor quality of bones which are easily fractured.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is another orthopaedic problem associated with ageing. Degeneration of ligaments and joints can cause arthritis. Patients suffering from arthritis suffer immense pain. They can also have deformed joints and even loss of motion. Osteoarthritis can happen in any synovial joints, but it occurs most often in frequently used parts of the body such as the hands, feet, knee and hips.

Carpal tunnel syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome can occur in elderly patients. This is due to the irritation of the median entrapment nerve compressing on the carpal tunnel. Rheumatoid arthritis can trigger carpal tunnel syndrome as well due to the inflammation of the flexor tendons, causing compressive stresses on the carpal tunnel.

Cervical spondylosis

Narrowing of the intervertebral foramina disc can cause irritation at the cervical nerve roots. This is often between the C4/5 vertebrae and can cause stiffness and sensory-motor impairment. Patients can also frequently experience a triad of tenderness over the neck area.

Genu valgum

Genu valgum or knock knee is often due to osteoarthritis in the knee. Osteoarthritis will cause deformation to occur on the knee, causing them to touch each other while straightened, and increasing asymmetrical wear on the cartilages at the medial and lateral joints. Genu valgum will lead to an increase in pain during activities and stiffness.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis is a medical condition that affects the feet and it causes extreme pain that is amplified after periods of inactivity. The pain is likened to as being stabbed repeatedly in the feet. The onset of pain is largely due to long periods of immobility of the feet such as a long day of using the computer. As the activities around the leg increases, the pain will decrease.

Degenerative orthopaedic conditions are common in the elderly. However, most of the conditions can be improved through physiotherapy or by leading an active lifestyle, working out the limbs and joints more often. When things get serious, pain relief medication may need to be consumed to maintain the level of pain in a tolerable range.

4 Common Orthopaedic Injuries in Elderly people

According to studies, orthopaedic injuries are the leading cause of injuries in elderly people. Common injuries include fractures to the hip, pelvic, spine, shoulder and forearm, head injuries and soft tissue injuries. In the elderly especially, there has been an observed pattern to orthopaedic injuries. Firstly, it is the fear of injuries followed by the actual injury and subsequent medical attention and the eventual loss of mobility and the need for specialised care. Let’s discuss about some of the common orthopaedic injuries in the elderly so that we can all try to prevent it from happening to our loved ones at home.

As we live in an ageing society, the risk of injuries is at a higher scale compared to previously. In this day and time, 30% of those hospitalised are the elderly. Ageing causes the weakening of the musculoskeletal system and the inability to maintain an independent function.

Fractures

Fractures happen more commonly in the elderly for many reasons. Firstly, there is a reduction in bone mineral which leads to eventual fractures of the spine and wrist. This is significantly in post-menopause females. Next, the vision of the elderly is not that great compared to the young and healthy ones. With an impaired vision, it is inevitable that unexpected events will occur. This coupled with weak bone structures are the best combination for fractures.

Dislocations

The shoulder joint is the most easily dislocated mainly due to the extreme flexibility property. This is also the increased risk of dislocation due to the breaking of a fall using a shoulder. Severe pain is often experienced immediately and a depression will usually be formed in the lateral shoulder. Shoulder dislocations will require a period of immobilisation for at least a period of 6 weeks.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterised by low bone mass and decreased bone density. It occurs due to the inability for new bone formation to catch up with existing bone loss and an eventual weakening of the bone. This is especially common in the elderly due to the inefficiency of bone forming due to ageing as our bone mass peaks at 30 years of age and starts to go into decline after that.

Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent type of degenerative disease and occurs more commonly in the elderly. Osteoarthritis affects the synovial joints as well as the spine, finger, ankle and knee joints. Osteoarthritis will have a negative impact on the daily activities of the patient and simple chores such as tying shoelaces or button a shirt may seem to be a tedious task to accomplish.

Orthopaedic injuries are the main culprit of injuries in elderly patients due to a combination of factors such as impaired vision which leads to falls and subsequent fractures and dislocations. Although degenerative diseases are mostly unavoidable, preventive steps can be taken when you are still young such as the intake of sufficient calcium before bone mass peaks to prevent complications when you are old. Stay happy and healthy folks!

4 Major Health Complications from Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that will lead to a gradual decrease in bone density and eventual loss of the skeleton’s ability to bear the weight of the body. This is a major cause for fractures and women are at a higher risk due to their already lower bone density and the ability to breast feed. Our bone mass peaks by 30 years of age and it will start to decline after that. Without sufficient calcium intake, it will get worse. Osteoporosis is also known as the silent disease as the symptoms come without any knowing.

Fractures

Previously, any slight falls or knocks will not cause any fractures in your body. However, someone with osteoporosis will find that even the slightest knock can result in fractures with the most common being hip fractures. A patient suffering from osteoporosis will have his bone structure similar to honeycombs with all the voids in between. With such poor mechanical strength, it cannot function well as is prone to cracking.

Pain

Fractures will lead to pain and these can cause a lot of discomfort to your daily lifestyle. If the fracture is affecting the spine, it can lead to spinal compression or Kyphosis. Kyphosis is extremely painful and it is similar to backaches, only that it is amplified when movements are attempted. Even the simplest action of bending down to retrieve something can cause severe sharp pain.

 Loss of mobility

Osteoporosis can also lead to loss of mobility. With stiff and weak bones, even the slightest bit of action can result in small fractures. Pain will also result in the reluctance to perform any motion and will lead to an eventual desire to not move. Joints that are immobile for long periods of time will get stiff and eventually, the mobility will be lost.

 Emotional

Complications of osteoporosis are not simply physical; they can be mental and emotional as well. Patients who are suffering from osteoporosis feel that they are useless and this will lead to an eventual depression. With a negative outlook on life, it can negatively influence their friends.

Osteoporosis is a disease that does not have any prior symptoms. There are however many preventive steps that can be taken to prevent osteoporosis and those include consumption of calcium, vitamin D and exercising regularly. A proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is the natural enemy of osteoporosis!

Nutrition Secrets to Help Prevent or Delay Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone mass and its victims are usually people above the age of 50. Our bone requires calcium to stay healthy and strong and if it is unable to obtain sufficient calcium from our dietary intake, it will “steal” calcium from the bones, making them weak. Over the years, researchers have learnt more about osteoporosis and the various ways to prevent it from occurring. It is common to lose bone density due to ageing but some people are losing more than normal and thus are at a higher risk of suffering from osteoporosis. One simple and fuss free way to prevent osteoporosis would be the food you eat.

Calcium

The main reason for osteoporosis is a lack of sufficient calcium intake. Our body uses a large amount of calcium daily and if the demand is more than the supply, bone density loss will occur. Our body is unable to synthesis calcium on its own and as a result, we can only obtain calcium through oral consumption. Adults require approximately 1000 to 1200mg of calcium daily. Foods that are rich in calcium are dairy products. Milk, cheese, yogurt and ice cream are great sources of calcium. Another great food is soy beans which are an excellent alternative for people who are lactose intolerant. Some vegetables are also good sources of calcium. Collard greens offer 266mg of calcium per serving. Spinach, broccoli and celery also provide decent amounts of calcium. When all fails, there is always the trusty calcium supplements that provides the minimum amount of calcium required per day.

Protein

Protein is the building blocks of our body and our body constantly needs them to repair any damaged tissues. Ensuring that the required daily protein intake is met will increase the efficiency of calcium intake in our body. Adults generally require between 45g to 50g of protein daily.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D works hand in hand with calcium to ensure optimal absorption and greatly reduces the risk of bone density loss. Vitamin D is easily available from the sun but not everyone have the luxury of a sunny weather every day. Most of the milk out there is fortified with vitamin D. If the required intake is still lacking, you may consider vitamin D supplements.

The most effective way to prevent osteoporosis is to ensure that you meet the required intake of calcium daily and have a well balanced diet consisting of magnesium, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D.

Top 6 Most Frequent Occurring Orthopaedic Conditions

Many conditions affect our musculoskeletal system and they require the professional treatment and care from orthopaedic doctors. There are some orthopaedic conditions which are much more common than the others.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury

The main function of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is to reduce movement of the femur on the tibia. If there are excess movement on the tibia, it can cause injuries to the surrounding muscles and ligaments. ACL injuries occur most commonly in high impact sports such as soccer, rugby and basketball where there is a sudden impact on the knee, causing the ACL to rupture or a sudden change of direction, when the foot is still firmly implanted on the ground and the knee attempts to change direction. A tear in the ACL can cause the knee to lose its stability and feel like it is unable to support the body’s weight.

Bursitis

The function of the bursa is to act as a cushion and reduce friction between body tissues. Bursitis occurs when the bursa is inflamed. Bursa is located near the joints such as the knees and elbows. The main causes of bursitis are due to overuse, injuries or infection. Patients who are suffering from bursitis will experience stiffness of joints, pain and swelling.

Meniscus injuries

The meniscus is located on the tibia and its function is to absorb shocks that the knee is experiencing and cushion them. Injuries to the meniscus can occur when there is a sudden twisting motion of the knee or due to wear and tear. Meniscus injuries are often accompanied by other knee ligament injuries such as an ACL tear.

Arthritis

Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint and it can be due to many reasons such as ageing, injuries, overuse or infection. The most common type of arthritis is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage is slowly being destroyed and it is a chronic disease.

Fractures

Fractures happen when there is a crack in the bone and can be grouped under open or closed fractures. Our bones are high in compressive strength but poor in tensile or shear strength. As such, when there is a twisting motion such as a fall or abrupt change in motion, our bones can easily crack.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when there is a loss in bone mass and the bone tissues will slowly be destroyed. Osteoporosis will cause the bones to be weak and prone to fracture. This is usually due to ageing or lack of calcium intake. Areas of high stresses are commonly affected such as the hips and spine.

Above are some of the common orthopaedic conditions that are suffered by many people. Orthopaedic conditions have a huge impact on our lives and thus we must do our best to protect our body from any harm.