By Dr. Amit Kale, Orthopaedics
Senior citizens are extremely vulnerable to fractures. Most of the Fractures in elderly occur due to an unattended condition or due to fall. One out of every three senior citizens in India experience fractures due to falling.
Common Fractures in Elderly
- Hip: A fracture in the hip is very common for people over 65 of age. The main cause of this problme is Osteoporotic bones. Hip fractures also account for the greatest number of deaths due to fractures in elderly people.
- Femur (Thigh bone): Thigh bones are likely to experience fracture as they are very vulnerable to falls. Pelvis, ankle, forearm, humerus (upper arm bone) and fingers are also very weak in elderly and are most likely to be fractured if one falls.
Causes of Fractures in Elderly:
- Problems in the Nervous system: People experiencing problems in their nervous system will have coordination problem, which will lead to shaking and trembling. This is a major cause of falls experienced by the elderly. Sciatica and Parkinson’s disease are examples of nervous disorders.
- Visual Impairment: Most of the elderly have Myopia or Cataract related problem. Short sightedness usually causes falls in elderly that leads to fractures. It is recommended that the place they are living in doesn’t have dim lights.
- Joint problems: Diseases like Arthritis are very common in senior citizens. These problems in the joint weaken the bones and even muscles, making them more vulnerable to fractures.
How can we prevent Fractures in Elderly
- Keep the room always bright, never dim the lights.
- Don’t keep the floors wet, most of these fractures occurs due to slippery floors.
- Get rid of rugs and slippery floor mats.
- Get rid of furniture that isn’t stable.
- Physical therapy: A person suffering from fractures should be usually under intensive care. But, once the conditions improve, it is necessary that the person undergoes physical therapy to regain strength in their bones and muscles. Joint manipulation therapy is one such technique to regain strength in the body.
- Surgery: If the fracture is very serious, the person might have to undergo surgeries for internal and external fixation to regain bone health.
- Medication: Elderly might be prescribed pain meds and recovery medicines. They might also be treated for some underlying disorders and diseases like Arthritis.
It is very important that the elderly are under constant check up from a medical professional in case of fractures. It is also important that they sleep comfortably, eat healthy and are cared.