by AK Team
Bone and joint disorders are most common in elderly people. Bones and joints play a vital role in giving the body its physical capabilities including a wide range of movements. If one does not take proper care of them bone and joint disorders may occur.
Clearly, bone and joint health are valuable investments, especially toward one’s senior years. Neglecting them could result in chronic pains and potential disability.
DIIFERENCE BETWEEN BONES AND JOINTS
The adult skeleton is made up of 206 bones. There are five main shapes of bones : long (such as the upper arm), short ( such as the hand ), flat (such as ribs), irregular (such as the vertebrae) and sesamoid (such as the knee cap).
Bones provide shape to the body structure. It holds the body upright, and also protect organs like the heart and the liver. It store the minerals calcium and phosphorus, and also contain bone marrow, where new blood cells are made.
A joint is an area where two or more bones are in contact with each other. Cartilage provides cushioning inside joints (such as in the knee joint), or connects one bone to another (as in cartilaginous joints)
Joints in the arms and legs are synovial joints, which means they have fluid (synovial fluid) in them so bones can move over each other.
Joints in the spine and pelvis are cartilaginous joints – they provide more stability but nit as much movements.
There are also fibrous joints that allow no movement – just stability. We also have fibrous joints in our skull bone.
COMMON BONE DISORDERS
A fracture is a break in a bone which ccurs when it is put under sudden or very strong pressure or force. This covers falls, a direct impact on the body, and sports related injuries.
People at high risk of getting fractures are the elderly, individuals with osteoporosis and endocrine or intestinal disorders, and those taking corticosteroids. There are several types of fractures but are usually classified as closed or open, and incomplete or complete .
- Closed / Open fractures
A closed or simple fracture is when the broken bone does not break the skin. Conversely, an open or compound fracture happens when the ends of a fractured bone tear through the skin. Open fractures that expose the bone and other tissues put the injured at a greater risk of infection.
- Incomplete / Complete fractures
Incomplete fractures are when the bone cracks without breaking completely, keeping it in one piece. Complete fractures, meanwhile , happen when the bone is snapped or crushed into two or more pieces.
Both the types have a slew of variations, depending on how the bone breaks and its condition after breakage.
Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine resulting in an S or C shape. The disorder often occurs in a child’s growth spurt before puberty, with cases usually diagnosed in the first seven years. In around 80% of scoliosis cases, no identifiable causes are found, though it may happen due to birth defects, neurological abnormalities, and genetic conditions.
Symptoms of scoliosis depend on the severity of the condition, including having one shoulder blade higher or more protrusive than the other, uneven hips, a rotating spine, breathing problems, and back pain.
- Paget’s disease
Paget’s disease is a chronic disorder that affects the way that bones break down and regrow. This results in excessive breakdown and regrowth, leading to bones that are bigger and softer than usual. Paget’s disease may also cause bones to grow misshapen and more prone to fracturing.
Symptoms of Paget’s disease rarely manifest, and when they do, they can be similar to that of arthritis. These include pain in the affected area, headaches and hearing loss (if the disorder affects the skull), pressure on the nerves (if the skull or spine is affected), damage to the cartilage in the joints, increased head size, limb bowing, and spine curvature.
This common disease occurs when bones become weak due to changes in bone mineral density and mass, causing a higher risk for fractures. Osteoporosis is known as a “silent” disease as there are no obvious symptoms until a bone actually breaks. These fractures can occur anywhere, but typically in the hip, spine, and wrist.
Although anyone can develop this disease, osteoporosis is more prevalent in older women. Aside from aging, additional risk factors include being of small stature, family history, certain medications, and having low bone density.
- Bone cancer
Cancer that originates in the bone, called primary bone cancer, is rare, accounting for less than 1% of all new cancers diagnosed, according to the National Cancer Institute. Cancer that spreads to the bones from other parts of the body is more common, such as metastatic tumors from prostate or breast cancer.
multiple myloma, a type of blood cancer, interferes with bone marrow function and new bone production in the hips, pelvis, ribs, shoulders and spine, increasing the risk of fracture
COMMON JOINT DISORDERS
One of the most common joint disorders, osteoarthritis arises when the cartilage between two joints is worn down. This causes the bones in the joint to rub together, causing swelling and stiffness in the area.
Symptoms typically occur way into adulthood, with the average person over 60 displaying some of the symptoms. Risk factors for this disorder include age, weight, frequency and intensity of joint activity, sports that directly affect the joint, and family history.
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune and inflammatory disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack healthy cells mistakenly, leading to inflammation or painful swelling in the affected area. It can attack multiple joints at once, usually the hands, wrists, and knees, and damage the joint tissue, leading to chronic pain, lack of balance or instability, and deformities.
Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis marked by intense pain and caused by too much uric acid in the body. Uric acid crystals build up in the joints and surrounding tissues in the body. This disorder typically affects one joint at a time, usually the one connecting the big toe. Other commonly afflicted joints are the lesser toe joints, ankles, and knees.
This disorder is characterized by the inflammation of the bursa, the small fluid-filled sac that serves as a cushion between the bone and other moving parts like muscles, tendons, joints, or skin. The bursa may turn red and increase in fluid content, leading to painful swelling.
This autoimmune condition affects various parts of the body, including the skin, internal organs, blood, brain, bones and joints. Inflammation caused by lupus can trigger arthritis, particularly in the hands, elbows, shoulders, knees and feet.
PREVENTION OF BONE AND JOINT DISEASES
In most cases, living a healthier lifestyle is the best one can do to prevent the onset of these conditions. Eating a well-balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and getting the recommended doses of vitamins and minerals can go a long way in strengthening and maintaining one’s bones and joints.