When we think about the most important parts of the body, most of us think of our vital organs like our heart, lungs, brain, and more. And while yes, we can’t live our lives without keeping them in great condition, we shouldn’t overlook the part of our body that is most responsible for helping us live a healthy, normal life: our musculoskeletal system.
We don’t often think about how much our muscles and bones go through every single day of our lives. It’s responsible for supporting the weight of our bodies, enduring strenuous exercises, propelling us through sports and games, traversing long distances, and more. It’s even responsible for mundane or delicate tasks like writing, painting, sewing, and so on. Because of these continuous stresses, they also have to bounce back from intense injuries such as a shoulder rotator cuff tear, and metabolic diseases like osteoporosis.
That’s why you should take care of your musculoskeletal system and ensure it stays in top condition for years to come. But most of us don’t notice it unless there’s something wrong. It may take a dislocated kneecap or hip dysplasia in Singapore, and several days to weeks of not being able to move around, to realise that our musculoskeletal system matters a lot. If you want to stay active for many years, it should be one of your first priorities.
When you come in for your next appointment, you should consider orthopaedics as one of your top priorities, especially if you’re middle-aged and older.
What is orthopaedics?
Ever had to go to a doctor for a painful muscle sprain or broken bone? Then you’ve already encountered orthopaedics in action. Orthopaedics is the medical field that is concerned with the musculoskeletal system and focuses on the correction, treatment, diagnosis, and prevention of diseases and conditions that affect it. This can include bone deformities, muscle disorders, diseases affecting the joints, and more.
Your musculoskeletal system is a complex network that involves parts of your body such as your bones, tendons, ligaments, joints, bones, and even your skin. When something goes wrong with these, a doctor specialising in the musculoskeletal system known as an orthopaedist can help you figure out what’s wrong with your body.
The study of orthopaedics used to be borne out of an interest in treating young individuals with limb and spinal problems, but orthopaedicshave now grown to include a diverse array of conditions and medical procedures. From getting a carpal tunnel brace to receiving total hip arthroplasty in Singapore, orthopaedics has been able to change our way of life for the better.
Orthopaedics involves both surgical and nonsurgical methods in correcting or treating your musculoskeletal issue. From medicines to physical therapy to surgery, these are part of the healthcare necessary to treat your conditions. Because of the immense variety of conditions that can affect this system, orthopaedic doctors need to be able to perform the following:
- Diagnosis of your disorder or condition
- Treatment of your condition
- Assisting you with rehabilitation or recovery from injury
- Identifying risk factors or whether you’re predisposed to an orthopaedic issue
- Providing advice on how to prevent certain conditions as you get older
Why orthopaedics matters more when you get older
The study of orthopaedics may have been first formed because of a desire to treat children with musculoskeletal problems, but now, orthopaedics is a field that encompasses individuals of all ages. That’s because you can experience orthopaedic problems at every point in your life, and in fact, you could be more prone to getting orthopaedic issues in your later years. For example, your chances of getting a shoulder rotator cuff tear in Singapore become much higher as you get older because these things usually escape notice when you are young.
As you get older, your body does too, and the musculoskeletal system is where it will show the most. You may find that it has become a lot more difficult for you to move around as much, and you may notice that your performance in sports may not be what it used to be. While ageing is a completely natural process, you can still keep fit and be in great condition for a long time if you learn how to manage yourself.
However, some orthopaedic conditions are either slow-acting, undetectable, or unavoidable as you grow older, like hip dysplasia in Singapore. This means that receiving the best orthopaedic care is vital for the elderly.
Common orthopaedic conditions when you get older
Ageing may be a natural part of life, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely accepting of what happens to your musculoskeletal system. Finding out ways to protect your body from pain or injury is natural. Recoveries from injuries such as a shoulder SLAP tear require medical intervention.
There are multiple areas of concern when it comes to elderly people’s limbs and joints. Let’s explore which areas of your body you should be focusing on when you receive orthopaedic treatment. Your hips and shoulders are just two of them.
Shoulder conditions in the elderly
The shoulders are two of the most common areas of concern when it comes to the elderly. Shoulder pain (or indeed, orthopaedic conditions in general), can be quite difficult to treat because elderly individuals can have comorbidities or other conditions that may prevent common treatment. Below are examples of conditions that the elderly face.
Rotator cuff tear
A shoulder rotator cuff tear is a rip in any of the four muscles and tendons that serve to stabilise the shoulder joint responsible for helping you lift or rotate your arms. Also called a complete shoulder tear, there are two kinds of rotator cuff tears but they both affect your movement in a negative way.
Older adults are about three times more likely to experience rotator cuff tears than younger people. People who have this condition will often feel pain in their shoulder joints and be unable to lift even the lightest of weights above their head.
Keep in mind that mild pain and weakness does not hint at a shoulder rotator cuff tear, though they may be indicators. If you suspect that you might have a rotator cuff tear, it is best to go to an orthopaedist and get diagnosed.
A shoulder SLAP tear, or a superior labral tear, is a type of shoulder tear wherein cartilage in the inner portion of the shoulder joint tears. This type of shoulder tear is usually found in athletes, but a surprising number of older patients have been diagnosed with it in recent years. SLAP tears usually occur when there is a sudden jerking or movement of the arm and can cause pain and even clicking in the shoulder.
SLAP tears in older adults can be a complicated matter. Unfortunately, SLAP tears cannot be healed without medical intervention and require surgery in order to heal properly. For young individuals, shoulder SLAP repair surgery can relieve pain and return their range of motion and activity, but older individuals are more susceptible to SLAP repair-related complications.
If you suffer from a shoulder SLAP tear, you may want to consult an orthopaedic doctor in Singapore for more advice on how you can resolve this medical issue.
Feel like you have a limited range of motion with the shoulders? Experiencing a lot of stiffness and difficulty even with slight movements? Unlike with a rotator cuff tear or a SLAP tear, where your range of motion is limited by pain, people with frozen shoulders experience difficulty with a full range of motion. This can severely restrict your ability to do even simple movements like putting a shirt on, reaching behind their backs, or scratching an itch.
Fortunately, surgery for frozen shoulders is rare and improvement in shoulder motion can be done with non-surgical methods. If you’ve been diagnosed with frozen shoulders, your orthopaedic doctor may recommend you for physical therapy and medication. Physical therapy is crucial for improving the range of motion in your shoulders.
Hip conditions in the elderly
You’ve probably already heard of the elderly stereotype of a man clutching his hip in pain, but it’s a stereotype for a reason. Hip pains are extremely common in the elderly. Despite the hips being a part of the body that can withstand repeated motions and tears, it’s not indestructible. With age and repeated use, the cartilage that cushions this ball and socket joint can wear down or become damaged. Your hip bones can also be prone to fractures.
If you are experiencing hip problems, your best bet is to go to an orthopaedic doctor to have your condition treated. Here are a few examples of hip conditions in the elderly.
Hip dysplasia in Singapore is characterised by a hip socket that doesn’t fully cover the ball of the upper thighbone. This can result in a hip joint that can become partially or fully dislocated. While hip dysplasia can occur at any age, it has worse effects on the elderly.
Hip dysplasia is believed to be a condition developed around birth. People who have hip dysplasia may not develop symptoms until they are much older. Fortunately, this condition can be treated, if detected early. Most older cases of hip dysplasia stem from an overlooked or undetected diagnosis in their younger years.
In elderly folk, hip dysplasia in Singapore can lead to more serious conditions such as osteoarthritis. To treat hip dysplasia, one needs to resort to surgical methods. This can correct the hip joint and ease the pains associated with it.