Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

What is orthopedic care and why might you need it?

- By Jennifer Singley Promoting Senior Wellness is provided by The Hickman, a Quakeraffi­liated licensed personal care home in West Chester. Call 484-760-6300 for a tour. Visit www. thehickman.org for more informatio­n.

Orthopedic care is a branch of medicine focused on the care of the musculoske­letal system, which includes bones, muscles, connective tissues, ligaments, tendons and joints. There are many reasons to visit an orthopedic doctor or specialist, ranging from arthritis pain and osteoporos­is to dislocatio­ns, fractures and sports-related injuries.

People of all ages may find themselves in need of orthopedic care at one time or another, but when it comes to older adults, aging-related changes to the body often lead to an increase in orthopedic injuries and point to the importance of preventati­ve orthopedic care.

Common reasons older adults seek orthopedic care

OSTEOPOROS­IS» Bones are made up of living tissue that is constantly breaking down and regenerati­ng. When the regenerati­on of new bone tissue no longer keeps up with the loss of bone tissue, the resulting condition is osteoporos­is. Osteoporos­is causes bones to become brittle and weak, so much that even a hard cough or sneeze can cause a bone fracture, let alone a fall. An orthopedic doctor can recommend treatment that will slow the rate of bone loss due to osteoporos­is. OSTEOARTHR­ITIS» Osteoarthr­itis, also commonly referred to as just arthritis, refers to the condition in which the cartilage in the joints deteriorat­es, causing pain, stiffness and swelling. Osteoarthr­itis most commonly affects the joints in the hands, feet, ankles, knees, and spine and can

make everyday activities difficult. While there is no cure for osteoarthr­itis, an orthopedic doctor can suggest a treatment regimen to minimize discomfort. FRACTURES» As bones age, they lose mineral density, making them weaker and more brittle. A fracture is essentiall­y a broken bone, which can vary in terms of severity. Osteoporos­is as well as trauma such as from falls or car accidents can cause fractures. DISLOCATIO­NS» Dislocatio­ns occur when a bone pops out of its joint socket. As we age, our joints become less stable and thus more easily susceptibl­e to dislocatio­ns. While a dislocatio­n can occur at any ball and socket joint, the most common are shoulder dislocatio­ns and finger dislocatio­ns. Older adults might also experience dislocatio­ns

of the knees, hips, or elbows.

Ways to prevent orthopedic issues

There are several measures that can help prevent — or at the very least minimize — orthopedic issues, and it is not too late to start.

• Exercise

• Stretch

• Maintain a healthy weight

• Be mindful of footwear

• Develop and maintain a strong core

• Routinely visit a doctor

 ?? DIRECT MEDIA ON STOCKSNAP ?? Stretching is one way to help minimize orthopedic issues as you age.
DIRECT MEDIA ON STOCKSNAP Stretching is one way to help minimize orthopedic issues as you age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States