When people age, their body systems age, too, and that includes the musculoskeletal system. Bones become weaker, muscles are less lean, and you may experience a decrease in your overall speed and movement. These changes contribute to the increased risk of falls and injuries.
Aging is a part of life, but you can decrease your susceptibility to certain conditions if you know what to do or avoid. Here are some of the common orthopedic problems that you may face as you get older.
There are over a hundred types of arthritis, but the most common type that affects older people is osteoarthritis. This condition is known as wear and tear arthritis because it occurs as the cartilage that cushions the end of the bones deteriorates over time.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint, but it most commonly occurs in the hip, knee, and spine. Individuals with osteoarthritis may have the following symptoms:
- Grating sensation
- Loss of flexibility
- Bone spurs
- Swelling and tenderness
Because this condition is a degenerative disease, it is often accompanied by chronic joint pain. Osteoarthritis is irreversible, but there are several things you can do to manage it. Consult with your doctor to learn about how to treat your condition.
Osteoporosis occurs when bone mass loss is faster than bone creation. The rate at which your body makes new bone may reach its peak at 30, and from there, it slows down. However, osteoporosis causes the rate of bone loss to increase and bone creation to decrease much more than usual. In addition to age, other factors also increase your risk for this condition. These are as follows:
- Sex Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
- Race If you are white or of Asian descent, your risk of developing the condition is higher.
- Genetics A family history of this condition increases your risk.
- Having a small body frame Patients with smaller body frames have less bone mass to draw from as they get older.
- Thyroid problems
Your lifestyle also affects your risk for osteoporosis. Excessive alcohol intake, physical inactivity, and smoking are all linked to the disease. Likewise, certain medications, medical conditions, and dietary factors can increase your likelihood of developing osteoporosis. However, unlike your sex, race, family health history, and body frame, these risk factors can be controlled with proper lifestyle changes and medical treatment.
Osteoporosis symptoms include back pain, loss of height, stooped posture, and increased bone fracture risk. It is essential to consult with your doctor if you know you are at risk in order to receive early treatment recommendations.
Because muscles and bones weaken with age, older adults are more prone to falling and accidents, which may result in fractures or bone breakage. Conditions that may affect the elderly, like osteoporosis, also increase the risk of breaking bones.
There are two types of fractures, depending on the severity of the break. A closed or simple fracture occurs when the broken bone does not break the skin’s surface. Whereas an open or compound fracture happens when the fractured bone is exposed or breaks through the skin.
Symptoms of a fracture include sudden pain, swelling, deformity, and bruising. Always seek immediate medical assistance when an elderly person falls. Complications of this condition include infection from an open wound and blood loss.
A dislocation occurs when two bones connected by a joint move out of normal position. This orthopedic problem commonly affects the shoulder, fingers, elbow, knee, and hip. Symptoms of this condition include:
- Visible deformation
- Swelling and discoloration
- Intense pain
Because of their similar symptoms, it can be challenging to differentiate between a fracture and a dislocation. Seek immediate medical care to get the proper treatment you need. Complications may arise if the dislocated joint is not corrected immediately. These can include blood vessel damage, the risk for further injuries, and torn muscles or connective tissues.
Orthopedic Treatment in Central Maryland
People weaken as they age, and this increases their risk of injuries and complications. It is essential to seek immediate medical assistance if you notice any symptoms in adults and older adults. Proper treatment can help reduce further damage to the musculoskeletal system.
Our board-certified orthopedic doctors in Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland aim to provide quality and personalized care for patients of all ages. Rest assured our providers can help you get the proper treatment you need for your orthopedic problems.
You may reach any of our clinics at (410) 644-1880 for inquiries about how we can help you. Alternatively, you may use this secure online form to schedule your visit with us. We look forward to helping you keep your muscles and bones healthy!