Common Orthopedic Conditions in the Elderly
There are nearly 45 million people over the age of 65 in the United States, and that figure is expected to rise to 98 million by 2060. This rapidly aging population and biological changes to older adults’ bodies mean that orthopedic injuries are increasingly common. Visiting an orthopedic doctor can help older individuals get the treatment they need.
Osteoarthritis affects 1 in 3 older adults, according to figures from the CDC. This condition is a degenerative disease that typically affects the hands, fingers, ankles, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis makes it challenging to perform everyday activities, particularly those that require flexibility, significant movement or fine motor dexterity. Unfortunately, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. Instead, your orthopedic specialist can recommend treatments to decrease pain and increase range of motion.
Fractures are a serious problem facing the elderly. As people grow older, their bone mineral density decreases. This is particularly problematic in post-menopausal women. Decreased mineral levels translate to weaker, more brittle bones. When combined with the tendency for older adults to have more unsteady balance and vision problems, this is a recipe for increased risk of fractures. Strength training exercises are a good way to increase bone strength, which can decrease the likelihood of fracturing a bone.
When a joint becomes dislocated, the bones that make up that joint shift from their original positions. This often occurs after a fall, in which the blow knocks bones out of the joint. Older adults who have dislocated a joint will experience immediate pain, which decreases after a physician helps put the joint back in place. Following up with an orthopedic specialist will ensure that the healing process goes well. In many cases, the joint must be immobilized for 4 weeks or longer to ensure optimal outcomes.
Bone mass peaks at about 30 years of age and slowly decreases thereafter. This places older adults at increased risk of osteoporosis, a bone disease that includes decreased bone density and low overall bone mass. The body continually makes new bones and breaks down old bone tissue. When the bone production process cannot keep pace with bone loss, your bones become brittle and weak. Your Jacksonville orthopedic doctor can recommend treatments to slow the rate of bone loss and prevent injury.
If you’re concerned that you may have an orthopedic problem, contact the top Jacksonville orthopedic specialists today. At Southeast Orthopedic Specialists, we can accurately diagnose your problem and come up with a treatment plan that works for you. Contact us today to learn more.