Reducing Home Hazards Cuts Seniors’ Risk of Falling

Reducing Home Hazards Cuts Seniors’ Risk of Falling

Nearly one-third of older people fall each year, most of them in their own homes. But it’s possible to reduce those numbers by a quarter, according to a new study.

Five steps can cut the risk of falls by 26%, the researchers reported in the March 10 issue of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. Those steps are: decluttering; reducing tripping hazards; improving lighting; and adding hand rails and non-slip strips to stairs.

“Falls are very common among older people. They can cause serious injury or even death, but they are preventable. In this review, we wanted to examine which measures could have the biggest impact on reducing falls among older people living at home,” lead author Lindy Clemson, professor emeritus at the University of Sydney, Australia, said in a journal news release.

The review found that people most at risk of falls, such as those recently hospitalized for a fall or those needing support for daily activities, such as dressing, would benefit the most from decluttering.

Other measures — such as having the correct prescription glasses or special footwear — didn’t make a difference. Neither did education about falls.

For the study, the researchers analyzed 22 studies that included data on more than 8,400 people living at home.

Taking measures to reduce falls around the house reduced falls by 38% in people who were at a higher risk.

The reviewers estimated that if 1,000 people who had previously fallen had followed these measures for a year, there would have been 1,145 falls instead of 1,847.

“Having had a fall or starting to need help with everyday activities are markers of underlying risk factors, such as being unsteady on your feet, having poor judgment or weak muscles,” Clemson said. “These risk factors make negotiating the environment more challenging and increase the risk of a trip or slip in some situations.”

Clemson added that support from an occupational therapist is an important intervention for many people living at home.

People tend to not notice the clutter in their home or to realize that continuing to climb ladders as they always have comes with a potential fall risk if their mobility or balance is diminished, she noted.

“Preventing falls is a really important way of helping people to remain healthy and independent as they grow older, and our review also highlights the need for more research in this area,” Clemson said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more on falls and fractures in older adults.

SOURCE: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, news release, March 10, 2023

Copyright ©2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Sleep Apnea Linked to Weaker Bones, Teeth

Sleep Apnea Linked to Weaker Bones, Teeth

People who have sleep apnea may have another issue to worry about — weaker bones and teeth.

Known as low bone-mineral density, the condition is an indicator of osteoporosis and can increase the risk of fractures and cause teeth to become loose and dental implants to fail, according to new research from the University at Buffalo (UB) in New York.

To study this, researchers used cone beam computed tomography (CBCT) — a type of X-ray — to measure bone density in the heads and necks of 38 adults. Half of the study participants had sleep apnea.

These scans found that participants with sleep apnea had significantly lower bone-mineral density than the participants without the condition.

Sleep apnea can cause difficulty breathing while asleep, which can lead to low levels of oxygen in the body, inflammation, oxidative stress and shortened breathing patterns.

These symptoms may each have a chronic negative effect on bone metabolism and eventually bone density, said senior author Dr. Thikriat Al-Jewair. She is an associate professor of orthodontics in the UB School of Dental Medicine and director of the school’s Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics.

“While the link between obstructive sleep apnea and low bone-mineral density has yet to be fully explored, this study offers new evidence on their connection that could have several implications for orthodontic treatment,” Al-Jewair said in a university news release.

“If a patient has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, this can influence treatment planning and management. CBCT imaging has become an integral part of daily orthodontic practice and could be used as a screening tool for low bone-mineral density,” she said.

“Orthodontists could then inform their patients of their propensity for low bone-mineral density and encourage them to seek further consultation with their physician, as well as warn the patient of possible adverse outcomes, increased risks and effects on treatment time,” Al-Jewair added.

Al-Jewair also suggested future research needs to be done with larger sample sizes.

The findings were published recently in The Journal of Craniomandibular and Sleep Practice.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on sleep apnea.

SOURCE: University at Buffalo, news release

Copyright ©2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Preventing and Treating Indoor Cycling Injuries

Preventing and Treating Indoor Cycling Injuries

Indoor cycling is a great workout. But it can cause aches and pains if you’re not positioned on the bike correctly. Follow these tips to stay safe while cycling!

Indoor cycling has skyrocketed in popularity, and it’s not hard to see why. During the pandemic, people sought a home-based workout alternative and rushed to buy indoor cycling equipment. Today’s indoor bicycles are interactive and allow you to work with an online trainer, which makes the workout more fun and less solitary. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the weather. You can exercise anytime of year in the comfort of your own home

As a cardiovascular workout less stressful on the joints, indoor cycling can’t be beat. But it can lead to pain and injuries if you don’t follow the correct technique and form. Before hopping on the bike, learn how to pedal the right way for a pain-free workout.

Preventing common indoor cycling injuries

Just because indoor cycling is a low-impact aerobic activity doesn’t mean your joints won’t ache after a session. Specifically, your knees, back, shoulders, wrists, and feet may feel sore, mostly because you’re not correctly stationed on the bike. But you can have a pain-free ride by getting into the proper position. Here are some tips:

Knees. Do you feel pain along the inside or front of your knee? It could be because you’re sitting too low and/or too far forward on the bike. To get in the right position, raise the seat up so that when the pedal is at the bottom of your stroke the knee is bent at a 30 degree angle. Move the saddle forward or backward to position the front of the knee above the front of the shoe. You can also lower the resistance, or shorten your workout, to further prevent knee pain.


Back & shoulders. Hunching too intently over the handlebars strains your back and shoulders. But the fix is simple: Raise the handlebars or move them closer to your midsection. And always keep your torso bent at a 30-degree angle. And remember to relax your neck and shoulders as you cycle.


Wrists. You may not realize it, but you stress your wrists and hands when you lean forward or bend them too much during a ride. Try to maintain a slight bend at the elbow and keep your wrists straight when holding the handlebars. The goal is to not put too much weight on your wrists and hands. Another option is to wear gloves when pedaling.


Feet. Ill-fitting shoes can lead to a common cycling injury known as metatarsalgia. It’s also called hot-foot syndrome because the balls of your feet will feel hot. The solution is to wear well-fitted, padded shoes. Your feet should be secure in the pedals, but not so squeezed it causes pain.

Prepping for your ride

Like any other workout routine, indoor cycling requires some prep time. Exercises to build strength and flexibility in the mid-back region can get you into the right position when riding and help prevent injuries. Try these two:


Quadruped thoracic extension. Get down on your hands and knees, making sure your spine is in a neutral position. Move your elbows and forearms down to the floor and bring your hands together in a triangle. Then, lower your chest to the floor and shift your weight back toward your knees. Hold for 30 seconds.


Bird-dog exercise. Position yourself on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under hips. Keep your neck and spine in a neutral position. With your shoulders and hips parallel to the floor, lift your right leg straight behind you as you lift your left arm up with the thumb pointing up. Hold for five to ten seconds, and return to the original position. Do on the opposite side. Aim for two to three sets with between eight and twelve repetitions.


If pain persists, see an orthopedic physician who may send you to a physical therapist. They may be able to pinpoint where your positioning on the bike is off and suggest adjustments. A physical therapist can also guide you through exercises to strengthen the muscles used during a ride. And if you do suffer an injury, your physical therapist will help you recover with an individualized therapy plan. After investing in an indoor bicycle, you’ll want to get the most out of your workout, and that means a pain-free session.

How to Identify a Bicep Tear

How to Identify a Bicep Tear

Bicep tears are common, but many people fail to realize that the pain they’re feeling is actually caused by their bicep, not their shoulder. 

You may not realize it, but you put a lot of strain on your shoulders when lifting weights or playing common sports like baseball or football. Although the shoulder joint is strong and flexible, it sometimes buckles under the weight of overuse or a sudden injury. However, just because you’re experiencing shoulder pain, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re experiencing an issue with the joint itself. A bicep tear can also cause severe shoulder pain.

That may seem surprising, since when you think of your bicep you likely think of your upper arm. And it’s true that your bicep muscle sits at the front of your upper arm, but that doesn’t mean it can’t cause pain elsewhere. In fact, your bicep works with your shoulder thanks to two tendons that attach the muscle to the scapula bone of the shoulder. Another tendon also links the muscle to the radius bone at the elbow. The muscle and tendons are what gives your shoulder its mobility. Although the tendons and muscle are durable, an injury or repetitive motions can lead to painful tears. At New York Bone & Joint Specialists, we’ve treated many bicep tears and can help you on the road to recovery.

What a bicep tear feels like

Bicep tears can either be partial or complete. Partial tears mean only part of the muscle or tendons are torn. In a complete tear, the bicep tendon tears into completely separate pieces.

Most often, tears are caused by an injury, such as lifting a heavy object or a fall. However, athletes who regularly perform overhead motions, such as throwing a baseball, are also particularly vulnerable to bicep ruptures. A bicep tear comes with some noticeable symptoms that can help you identify your injury as a bicep tear rather than a shoulder injury. These are:

Sharp pain. As your bicep tears, you’ll likely feel a sudden jolt of pain either near your shoulder or near your elbow. This pain occurs whether you suffered a partial tear or a complete tear.

Popping sound. Along with pain, the torn bicep may produce a popping sound when injured.

Bruising. After a tear, you may notice bruising, swelling, and a feeling of warmth in your upper arm that could extend to your elbow.

Lingering pain. A tear could develop over time due to overuse. In this case, instead of sudden, sharp pain, the pain and tenderness in the arm and shoulder will gradually increase if the tear isn’t treated.

Weakness in the shoulder and arm. A bicep tear weakens your arm and shoulder, such that you can’t perform routine tasks. One telltale sign of a bicep tear is that you cannot rotate the palm of your hand either up or down when your arm is straightened.

Abnormal bulge. When the tendons cannot hold the muscles in place, the muscles in the upper arm may bulge outward in what is termed the “Popeye muscle.” You may see a pronounced dent closer to your shoulder. too.

Bicep tear treatment

Treatment options vary depending on whether the bicep tear is a partial tear or a complete and based on the age and activity level of the patient. Tears of the tendons connected to the shoulder are most common, and are termed proximal bicep ruptures. The alternative is a distal bicep tendon tear, which occurs when the tendon attached to the elbow is injured.

Younger, active patients benefit greatly from arthroscopic surgery to repair the damaged tendon. Older, less active patients may opt for conservative therapy instead, which includes rest, icing, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories. Once healed — whether using surgery or a conservative approach — you’ll undergo an extensive physical therapy program guided by the therapists to get your shoulder back to a normal range of motion. Although you’ll feel significant improvement in four to six weeks, a complete recovery usually takes three to four months.

Heal your bicep tear today!

An aching shoulder can greatly affect your quality of life. But the orthopedists at CompOrtho can diagnose and treat your shoulder, whether your injury is due to a bicep tear or not, and get you back to normal again. Contact us for a consultation.

Retired Olympians Face Higher Odds for Arthritis

Retired Olympians Face Higher Odds for Arthritis

Olympic athletes aren’t like the rest of the population — but this time it’s in a far less positive way.

Two new studies show that athletes who performed at the top of their sport have a higher risk of developing arthritis and joint pain in later life. The linked studies found that 1 in 4 former Olympians dealt with these issues.

Those who’d been injured during their sporting career had a higher chance of knee and hip osteoarthritis when compared with the general population. These athletes also had an increased risk of lower back pain overall.

“High performance sport is associated with an increased risk of sport-related injury and there is emerging evidence suggesting retired elite athletes have high rates of post-traumatic osteoarthritis,” said lead author Debbie Palmer, from the University of Edinburgh’s Moray House School of Education and Sport in Scotland.

“This study provides new evidence for specific factors associated with pain and osteoarthritis in retired elite athletes across the knee, hip, ankle, lumbar and cervical spine, and shoulder, and identifies differences in their occurrence that are specific to Olympians,” Palmer said in a university news release.

The international research included almost 3,400 retired Olympians, averaging about 45 years of age, who’d participated in a total of 57 different sports.

Researchers asked about the health of their bones, joints, muscles and spine, as well as if they were experiencing joint pain and whether they had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

The research team also surveyed more than 1,700 people from the general population who were about age 41.

The researchers used statistical models to compare the prevalence of spine, upper limb and lower limb osteoarthritis and pain in retired Olympians with the general population, considering factors that could influence risk such as injury, recurrent injury, age, sex and obesity.

Knees, lumbar spine and shoulder were the most injury-prone areas and the most common locations for osteoarthritis and pain for Olympians. After sustaining a joint injury, the Olympians were more likely to develop osteoarthritis than someone in the general population who had a similar injury.

The findings may help people make decisions about recovery and rehabilitation from injuries to prevent recurrences, the researchers suggested. It may also help inform prevention strategies.

The two studies were published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The World Olympians Association funded the studies with a research grant from the International Olympic Committee.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on osteoarthritis.

SOURCE: University of Edinburgh, news release, Nov. 23, 2022

Copyright ©2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Cancer Survivors May Face Higher Risks for Bone Fractures

Cancer Survivors May Face Higher Risks for Bone Fractures

Adult cancer survivors, particularly those who have undergone chemotherapy, have an increased risk for serious pelvic and vertebral fractures, new research shows.

“These findings are important as the number of cancer survivors living in the United States is projected to rise to 26.1 million by 2040. Research like this seeks ways for cancer survivors to have a better quality of life after their diagnosis,” said study lead author Erika Rees-Punia. She is a behavioral and epidemiology researcher at the American Cancer Society.

“Fractures of the pelvis and vertebrae are more than just broken bones — they are serious and costly,” Rees-Punia added in a society news release.

The researchers analyzed data from the Cancer Prevention Study-II Nutrition Cohort linked to Medicare claims from 1997 to 2017. Of about 92,400 participants they assessed, more than 12,900 had had a frailty-related bone fracture. Investigators compared that group to people without a history of cancer.

Cancer survivors who were more recently diagnosed within five years with an advanced stage cancer had the highest risk of fracture compared to those with no previous cancer.

Vertebral and pelvic fractures drove this higher risk.

Survivors who received chemotherapy were more likely to have a fracture compared to survivors with no past chemotherapy. Researchers found this association was stronger within five years of diagnosis but was still suggestive even after the five-year mark.

Physical activity may be associated with lower risk, researchers noted. Current smoking was associated with a higher risk of fracture among cancer survivors five or more years after diagnosis.

“We hope our findings will inform clinical guidance on fracture prevention, which could incorporate physical activity with exercise cancer professionals and smoking cessation programs, to improve quality of life after a cancer diagnosis,” Rees-Punia said.

The findings were published Nov. 3 in JAMA Oncology.

More information

MD Anderson Cancer Center has more on bone health and cancer.

SOURCE: American Cancer Society, news release, Nov. 3, 2022

Copyright ©2022 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
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