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Orthopedic Treatment for Seniors

Orthopedic injuries are common among those over the age of 65. With over 45 million people in the United States who are 65 or older, there is serious potential for an orthopedic injury to occur at any moment. Our bodies continue to change biologically as we grow older, which is why many retirees and seniors are at an increased risk for injury. Setting an appointment with an orthopedic doctor can not only provide you with the treatment you may need to overcome pain but also provide you with education on how to help prevent future conditions from developing.

Injuries that affect our bones can occur in any area of the body. As the body ages, the bones may grow weaker allowing for fractures to occur more easily. If osteoporosis is suspected, which is a common condition that refers to weak bone density, our AICA Orthopedics team will work hand in hand with your primary physician to treat your condition.

Common Orthopedic Conditions for Seniors

Osteoarthritis

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in every three adults are affected by osteoarthritis; a degenerative condition that can affect areas of the hands, fingers, ankles, knees, and spine. With osteoarthritis, daily tasks may become challenging, especially those that require the use of fine motor skills or flexibility. This condition does not have a cure, however, our team of Atlanta orthopedic doctors can develop a treatment plan that manages the pain and helps improve personal mobility.

Fractures

It’s common for our bodies to change over time and for our bone density to decrease. When this happens, the risk of experiencing some type of fracture increases. For women, a fracture can be debilitating if they are post-menopausal since their bodies already have limited mineral levels and brittle bones. Our vision also decreases, creating a higher risk for a slip-and-fall accident to occur. Preventative measures like strength training can be a good way to keep your bones strong and healthy, minimizing your chances of sustaining a fracture.

Dislocations

Following a slip-and-fall accident, a dislocation or a bone shift can occur. If the impact is strong enough, the bone can pop out of the joint, causing significant pain. The team of orthopedic doctors at AICA Orthopedics will examine your shoulder and determine a appropriate course of action. In many cases, dislocations are treated by keeping the injury in a set or locked position for several weeks.

Osteoporosis

With bone mass peaking at around the age of 30, those who are middle-aged or older are at higher risk of developing osteoporosis. This common disease refers to patients whose suffer from weak and brittle bones. At AICA Orthopedics, we can help slow this process down, minimize the risk of injury, and provide proactive solutions that prevent further injuries from occurring.

Osteoarthritis, much like osteoporosis often affects the elderly and seniors. This condition consists of inflammation in the joints, which fluctuates based on the patient’s body weight and conditioning. Pain stems from the cartilage tissues breaking down, as well as the swelling and deformity that may occur. This condition can affect your hips, knees, shoulders, and spine. In some severe cases, senior patients may be unable to move.

Treatment Options

For those affected by conditions like osteoarthritis, physical therapy may be prescribed to help alleviate some of the pain and other symptoms caused by the condition. Physical therapy is often the first step before surgery to see if through exercises and therapies symptoms can be managed.

Geriatric Orthopedic Surgery

In some cases, surgery is the best option to allow you to regain your mobility, as well as ridding yourself of chronic pain. It is estimated that almost half a million people will undergo knee replacement surgeries, as well as hip replacement surgeries to ensure a higher quality of life. Some of the most common elective surgeries for seniors include:

  • Hip Replacement Surgery: A hip replacement is done by removing the old hip, whether it be causing pain due to arthritis or injury and replacing it with a new hip made of plastic and metal. Many replacements on average last around 20 years which give our patients peace of mind.
  • Knee Replacement Surgery: When chronic pain has become too much, making even the simplest tasks seem daunting, a knee replacement may be your next step. Patients report drastic improvements in their mobility following the surgery, as well as a dramatic decrease in their pain levels.
  • Shoulder Replacement Surgery: Conditions such as rotator cuff tendinitis, rotator cuff tears, and osteoarthritis account for nearly 20 percent of orthopedic conditions in the elderly. When the shoulder joint is damaged, replacing it with a new joint will not only minimize the pain one feels but also increase range of motion which could mean allowing someone to participate in hobbies they once loved again.
  • Spinal Surgery: Chronic lower back pain affects about 10 percent of the elderly population resulting from overuse, stress to the body, and degenerative vertebrae. A Spinal Fusion is a surgery in which our surgeons fuse the vertebrae to restrict motion between the bones, limiting the stretching of the nerves.

Although these surgeries and approaches may be effective, the best course of treatment is prevention. To prevent these types of injuries or chronic conditions, one should begin by living a healthy lifestyle by fueling their bodies with proper nutrition as well as exercising and strengthening the body. Physical therapy is also an excellent outlet for those who may need it as it can provide the training needed to regain range of motion and flexibility.

Education is critical, and at AICA Orthopedics our team of doctors strives to provide access to the most effective preventive measures for our senior patients. Contact us today at (404) 855-2141 for more information.

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