Ditch the Throw Rugs, Seniors!

Ditch the Throw Rugs, Seniors!

Icy winter weather may lead to fewer hip fractures than many believe.

Most fall-related hip fractures among elderly people in a New England study occurred in warm months and indoors — with throw rugs a common culprit.

“Given the results of this study, it appears that efforts to decrease fall risk among the elderly living in cold climates should not be preferentially aimed at preventing outdoor fractures in winter,” said study author Dr. Jason Guercio.

Instead, preventive efforts should focus on conditions present year-round, and especially on indoor risk, said Guercio. He’s with North American Partners in Anesthesiology at the Hospital of Central Connecticut in New Britain, Conn.

The researchers analyzed details about hip fractures suffered by 544 patients treated at the Hospital of Central Connecticut between 2013 and 2016.

More than 55 percent of the hip fractures occurred during warm months, with the highest rates in May, September and October (around 10 percent each). In addition, the investigators found that more than three-quarters of the hip fractures occurred indoors.

Moreover, 60 percent of outdoor fractures occurred from May through October, not in the depths of winter.

The most common cause of both indoor and outdoor hip fracture? Tripping over an obstacle. Indoors, throw rugs were the most common obstacle cited.

Falling out of bed was the second leading cause of indoor hip fractures.

Outdoors, the other leading causes of hip fractures were being struck by a vehicle or falling from a vehicle, followed by accidents on stairs.

The study was scheduled for presentation Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, in Boston.

“Falls are one of the most common health concerns facing the elderly today. And this population is the fastest growing segment of the U.S.,” Guercio said in a meeting news release.

“Falls leading to fracture can result in disability and even death. Understanding the risk factors for fractures can help to focus efforts on decreasing them, and guide resources and appropriate interventions to prevent them,” Guercio said.

“It is counterintuitive that the risk for hip fracture would be higher in warm months, as ice and snow would appear to be significant fall risks,” he added.

Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on hip fractures among older adults.

SOURCE: Anesthesiology annual meeting, news release, Oct. 23, 2017

Sports Injuries: Kneecap (Patellar) Dislocation

Sports Injuries: Kneecap (Patellar) Dislocation

Athletes in high impact sports or sports that require a lot of running and jumping are prone to knee injuries.  kneecap dislocations most often happen as a result of trauma, such as when a football player is tackled, or a soccer players falls hard on his knees.

The kneecap, or patella, is referred to as dislocated when it slips out of the groove in the femur (thigh bone) that is naturally sits in. Some patients recover from a dislocation and never experience the condition again. For other patients, however, the patella will chronically dislocate until it is repaired through surgery.

You’ll know you’ve dislocated your knee cap if you feel these symptoms following an incident:

  • Severe pain at the knee
  • Redness and swelling
  • Deformity
  • Difficulty moving the knee at all

While many patients can overcome a patellar dislocation with a physical therapy regimen, severe cases will require surgery.

If the surrounding cartilage and bone are not severely damaged, five to six weeks of rehabilitation should be sufficient.   This includes strengthening exercises designed to rebuild the muscles surrounding the patella, which also will in-turn restore the range of motion that should be enough to recover from the injury.

If surgery is required, an orthopedic knee specialist will reset the kneecap and perform a short arthroscopic procedure to remove any dislodged pieces of bone, and smooth down any damaged cartilage. As with most sports injuries, surgery will also require 6 to 8 weeks of rehabilitation for proper healing.

Dr. Main and Dr. Pick-Jacobs treat athletes with mild to severe patella issues routinely. Dr. Main is an expert in arthroscopic surgery to repair the knee following even the most severe cases of kneecap dislocation.

It’s Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your Bones

It’s Never Too Soon to Safeguard Your Bones

Bone health is literally something you build on throughout your life, not just as a child. And the efforts you put in now will keep bones strong and help prevent the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis later on, as you age.

Most of the 10 million Americans living with osteoporosis are women, but men are at risk, too, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. It weakens bones, leaving them at greater risk of fracture. Here are 4 steps to better bone health for women and men.

First, make sure your diet has calcium, an essential mineral, and vitamin D. These nutrients work in tandem on bone building. Low-fat dairy, such as plain yogurt and milk, is a great calcium source. Also, look for milk that’s been fortified with vitamin D. You can get some D from fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, spending limited time in the sun, and supplements.

Second, eat healthy in general. Magnesium, potassium and vitamins C and K are also important. They’re in many fruits, peppers and leafy green veggies. Get enough protein, but not too much, which could lower your calcium level. Skip soda and limit alcohol, salt and caffeine.

Third, get the types of exercise that support bone health, primarily strength-training and weight-bearing cardio activities — those that are done standing, like walking. Add workouts that help with balance, like yoga and tai chi, to improve posture and prevent falls, the key culprit in broken bones.

Finally, don’t smoke. Smoking decreases all-important bone density.

More information

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has a wealth of advice for building stronger bones through diet and exercise.

The Benefits of Simply Moving More

The Benefits of Simply Moving More

The link between exercise and good health is a strong one. Still, many people — particularly older adults — find it difficult to take part in formal exercises, and become less physically active over time.
But scientists are discovering that if you keep moving, you can enjoy health benefits throughout your life, especially later on.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people over 60 who stayed active in their everyday lives — even without participating in a formal exercise program — had a lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome. This syndrome can lead to diabetes, heart disease or heart attack, and even death.
The study participants’ waistlines were trimmer and their cholesterol was lower. The men in particular also had lower levels of insulin and blood sugar.
The kinds of activities cited in the study included things like gardening and taking care of your car.
Being active on a regular basis also benefits everyday living. It can help you fall asleep faster, be more energized during the day, and boost concentration — all of which make work and play much more satisfying.
So, if you’ve slowly turned into a couch potato, it’s time to get up and get moving. You’ll have a happier outlook and greater quality of life.
But what if you have a physical condition, like arthritis, that makes it harder to get off the sofa? Physical activity actually helps with both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s OK to start slowly and add movement as you get more comfortable, researchers say.
Be consistent and, over time, you’ll have less pain and move more easily, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
More information
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advice for starting an exercise program for people with arthritis.