An orthopaedic injury can be any injury sustained by the musculoskeletal system. It can be caused by acute trauma or chronic repetitive stress by an external source to the bones, joints, and soft tissues. While not all of them are life-threatening, treatment is crucial in the healing and complete recovery of such delicate injuries.
The chances of sustaining an orthopaedic injury are increased in certain individuals with the following risk factors:
Older individuals are more susceptible to orthopaedic injuries due to a lowered bone density and muscle strength.
2. Underlying Conditions
- Osteoarthritis – The cartilage between two joints can be worn down over time and cause the bones within to rub together. This can lead to chronic pain and restrictions in joint movement, and may even cause muscles to weaken.
- Osteoporosis – Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that can cause a decrease in bone density and mass. These weakened and brittle bones are then more prone to fractures from minor bumps or falls.
3. Physically demanding jobs
Jobs in construction or manufacturing are associated with plenty of movement and heavy lifting, which can cause repetitive stress on the joints and ligaments. This can lead to increased wear and tear on the knees and result in a higher chance of getting osteoarthritis. Workplace accidents and falling hazards are also more likely to occur.
Overuse of certain body parts can cause repetitive trauma over time and result in a stress fracture. Fast movements or sudden impacts can also result in more serious and acute injuries.
5. Previous injury
There is an increased likelihood of sustaining a future injury in a similar location to a previous one. This could be due to an inadequate rehabilitation of the prior injury, resulting in a weakened joint or ligament.
Tips for Preventing Orthopaedic Injuries
1. Stay fit
Strong muscles and joints are key to preventing injuries and can slow down or prevent the development of conditions like osteoarthritis. Take care to practice proper exercise techniques and that your body is supplied with adequate nutrients for healthy bones and joints.
2. Listen to your body
A personalised exercise programme that is tailored to your age, fitness level, and conditions ensures that the benefits of every workout are maximised. It is also important to know your boundaries, if unusual pain is felt during or after the workout, rest and consider lowering the weight or substitute certain exercises with others.
3. Proper footwear
Ensure that your shoes fit well and provide the appropriate arch support for the intended activities. Minimise the wearing of flip flops and high heels that do not offer as much stability and make it easier to sustain injuries.
4. Go for regular health check-ups
Older adults that are more susceptible to conditions like osteoporosis and osteoarthritis should take care to go for yearly check-ups to reduce the risk of orthopaedic injuries.
Orthopaedic injuries can lead to debilitating pain and serious complications if left untreated. If prolonged pain and discomfort do not diminish even after the application of home remedies, consult your podiatrist and seek professional treatment promptly.