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Orthopaedic Disorders

Orthopaedic health mainly refers to the health and condition of the musculoskeletal system comprising the skeletal system and the muscular system; the systems which enable locomotion in humans. Made up of both fused and individual bones supported and supplemented by ligaments, tendons, muscles and cartilage, it serves as a scaffold which supports organs, anchors muscles, and protects organs such as the brain, lungs and heart. The biggest bone in the body is the femur in the thigh and the smallest is the stapes bone in the middle ear. In an adult, the skeleton comprises around 30-40% of the total body weight, and half of this weight is water.

Human body is literally a ‘bag of bones'; a term we use derogatorily to refer to skinny people. Interestingly, early in gestation, a foetus has about 350 bones which go on fusing together. At birth, a newborn baby has over 300 bones, whereas on average an adult human has 206 bones(these numbers can vary slightly from individual to individual). The difference comes from a number of small bones that fuse together during growth, such as the sacrum and coccyx of the vertebral column.

Pain Due to Orthopaedic Disorders

Any kind of damage or wear and tear of the constituents of this system, leads to musculoskeletal disorders or orthopaedic disorders like fractures, sprains, joint pains, dislocation, back pain, osteoporosis, arthritis etc. resulting in pain.

  • Fractures:
  1. Open or simple fractures: Simple fractures are those which keep the skin intact.
  2. Closed or compound fractures: Involve wounds with fracture, resulting into haematoma and higher chances of infection.
  • Osteoporosis: Reduction in Bone Mineral Density (BMD) leads to porous bones making them fragile or brittle and prone to fractures. The disease is known as osteoporosis. Women usually suffer from osteoporosis after the age of 40 years. Therefore, continuous and sufficient supply of calcium is advisable.
  • Back pain: Back pain is usually due to the pain originated from the muscles, nerves, bones, joints or other structure of the spine.
  • Spinal disorder/ slip disc: Medically known as the spinal disc herniation is a condition which affects the spine.
  • Dislocation (joint dislocation): Misalignment or displacement of bones in a joint is known as joint dislocation.
  • Joint disorders: Inflammation, soreness or stiffness of joints lead to joint disorders.
  • Arthritis: A condition wherein the joints of the body are damaged. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, and can affect both larger and smaller bones of the body.

Tips for good health:
Since time immemorial, it is believed that precaution is better than cure. So, listed below are some precautionary tips that would help you to make your bones stronger and help you lead a healthy life.

  • High impact exercise and resistance training using weights help to build bone mass.
  • Intake of adequate quantities of calcium, minerals and vitamin D.
  • Consumption of vegetables prevent bone breakdown.
  • Get soaked in the early morning sun for Vitamin D, increase your intake of milk and milk products, exercise and stay healthy!
  • Kick that butt; quit smoking as smokers have higher chances of low bone density.

Effect of nicotine
It has been observed that smokers generally have lower bone density making the bones porous and brittle. Thus, it results into higher risk and possibility of fractures. In such cases, smoking even delays the healing of fractures, nearly taking double the time to heal than in cases of non-smokers.

In case your orthopaedic health seems to be deteriorating, don’t forget to see your doctor. He will put you under treatments and help you cope with the disorder. These treatments are either surgical or non-surgical.
Pain management: It is an interdisciplinary approach for easing the pain or suffering.
Immobilisation: Restoring of fractured pieces to their natural position and maintaining a particular position while the bone heals.
Surgery: Surgeries are usually performed in extreme cases for instance hip fracture or knee replacement.

  • Bone grafting is a surgery wherein the missing bone is replaced with the bony material extracted from other parts the same patient’s body.
  • Arthroscopy is performed for reconstruction of torn ligaments or minimally invasive cartilages.
  • Arthroplasty is a surgery wherein the joint surfaces are replaced by metal or high density polyethelene implants cemented to the bones.

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