Trauma and degeneration are principal causative factors for orthopedic problems in the elderly. Along with limiting mobility, these problems are also associated with pain and discomfort. Osteoporosis is a major cause of most orthopedic disorders in the elderly since it causes the bones to become fragile, increasing the risk of fractures with even slight falls. Even though these problems, being age-related, cannot be prevented, their onset can be delayed through certain precautionary measures.
Osteoporosis is a disease of the skeletal system, in which the bone mass/ density decreases, and the micro-architecture of the bone tissue deteriorates, leading to increased fragility in the bones. The decrease in the levels of the hormone estrogen in postmenopausal women is believed to be associated with the high risk of developing this disease in women after 50. The disease is classified as a “metabolic bone disease”, in which there is an imbalance between the resorption and formation of the bone tissue. The result is the creation of fragile spots in the bone structure, which are usually responsible for injury-related orthopedic problems like hip fractures in the elderly. The quality of life in elderly patients suffering from orthopedic problems is usually affected, with the increased disability caused by these problems leading to deterioration in physical and mental health.
The physicians at OrthoTexas have a special program designed for elderly patients with orthopedic problems, in which the treatment plan includes rehabilitation and counseling, along with the administration of medicines. The focus of such a plan lies in encouraging the patient to keep trying to improve their physical condition and to restore independence to the highest degree possible. Osteoarthritis is another disorder commonly affecting elderly patients. This disease results from arthrosis in the joints and vertebral column, which in turn is caused by age-related degeneration. This disorder is associated with significant pain, along with restricted motion and deformity.
Even though this disease can affect any synovial joint in the body, the most commonly affected joints are the knees, hand, feet, spine, and hips. The orthopedic treatment of any joint disorder in the elderly must be structured while taking the risk factor of age into account. Surgery is usually not a practical option for most elderly patients. The focus should rather be laid on improving the quality of life of the patient through exercise, and other lifestyle modifications like weight loss.