Sometimes just the thought of moving makes you feel those aches and pains. Taking care of your musculoskeletal system means you’re also looking out for your mobility, along with future productivity and independence.
YOUR FABULOUS FEMALE FRAME
Your anatomy, physiology, and hormones are unique to females. The female frame differs from the male’s because your skeleton is more delicate, your rib cage is smaller, your lumbar spine is more curved, and your pelvis is lower and wider.
You should know that:
1] Wider hips increase risk for knee injuries.
2] Increased foot pronation — or inward roll — can increase injury of the lower leg.
3] Extra weight gained during teen or childbearing years puts stress on joints.
4] Your peak bone mass is lower than men’s and puts you at greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
Common Female Orthopedic Disorders
1. Osteoporosis: This most common of bone diseases occurs when your body doesn’t replace bone or when more calcium is absorbed than replaced — bones get thin and fracture. Treatments can reduce bone loss, but not replace it. Women who are thin, Caucasian or Asian, or over the age of 50 are most at risk. Certain endocrine conditions such as hyperthyroidism also increase risk.
2. Arthritis: Arthritis, which means inflammation, consists of more than 100 different diseases or conditions, including:
• Osteoarthritis, or OA: This most common form of arthritis breaks down the cartilage in your joints, causing them to rub together, resulting in pain, swelling, and reduced motion. Aging, use, or wear and tear, injuries including fractures, and being overweight can result in osteoarthritis.
• Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA: This systemic and chronic arthritis is three times more common in women than men. The body’s immune system attacks a thin membrane that lines the joints, creating fluid and causing pain. Resulting inflammation can make joints swollen, warm, and red in color, even causing deformity in severe cases. Rheumatoid arthritis typically begins in the smaller joints like fingers and toes, but may spread to larger joints like hips, shoulders, and knees.
3. Bursitis: A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that cushions and provides a gliding surface between a bone and muscles, tendons, or skin. Bursae adjoin tendons near the body’s large joints, including elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles. Inflammation causes fluid to build up in the bursae due to injury, overuse, or, less frequently, infection. Doctors treat pain with rest or an anti-inflammatory medication, or sometimes an injection to reduce inflammation.
When to Call Your Healthcare Provider
If you break a bone, you’ll probably know it — but not always — so it’s wise to see a healthcare provider for an x-ray if you’re in doubt, and better now than later. If at any time you experience unusual stiffness, tenderness, pain, or swelling, and limited range of motion, it’s time to find out why. Remember: no one knows you better than you, so if you’re concerned, there’s probably a reason.
TEN TIPS TO STAY ON THE MOVE!
1] Bone up on calcium: Get calcium in yogurt, cheese, sardines, salmon, cottage cheese, soy products, turnip greens, and kale, or take between 1,000 and 1,300 mg daily. Remember: get vitamins and minerals from foods or supplements, but please don’t take anything new or stop a medication without talking to your health care provider first.
2] Depend on vitamin D: Get vitamin D from high levels in fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and mackerel, and in small amounts in cheese and egg yolks. Take 600 IU daily. The sun produces vitamin D — but ask your health care provider or dermatologist about how much you need and what protection to use.
3] Partake of potassium: Get potassium from foods such as bananas, avocados, cantaloupes, and potatoes, or take between 1,600 to 2,000 mg daily.
4] Maximize exercise: Add weight-bearing exercises to challenge your bones and muscles by forcing you to work against gravity.
5] Focus on family history: If a close relative has had osteoporosis, there’s a chance you’ll develop it, too. Ask your health care provider about a quick and painless bone density test.
6] Think before you drink: Alcohol can increase your risk of fractures and low bone density, so aim to drink in moderation. That’s one drink a day for women; 12 ounces of beer, 8 ounces of malt liquor, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces or a shot of distilled spirits or liquor.
7] Stop smoking: Tobacco inhibits proper calcium absorption and harms nearly every organ in the body.
8] Mind your meds: Certain drugs aren’t kind to bones: corticosteroids, aromatase inhibitors for breast cancer, antidepressants (called SSRIs), and drugs to treat both gastroesophageal reflux disease and diabetes.
9] Behold bone boosters: Newer medications called bisphosphonates can really help bolster bones, but they do have side effects. Your health care provider might also recommend estrogen replacement therapy, although hormones remain controversial and their use is a very personal decision.
10] Curb your caffeine: Drink no more than two, or three cups per day — because too much java encourages bone loss…and jitters.
HCMC’s Center for Orthopedic Wellness focuses on total joint replacements as well as other orthopedic issues. HCMC is very fortunate to have four board-
certified orthopedic surgeons on staff to care for our patients in the dedicated unit with a full gym and large private rooms as well as a comprehensive class prior to surgery for the best in care for our orthopedic patients.
For more information on our Center for Orthopedic Wellness, call 731-644-8325. For more information on our Orthopedic Surgeons, go to our microsite at www.choosehcmc.org or call 731-644-3463 or contact them directly:
Mark Cutright, MD & Heather Melton, MD
1015 Kelley Dr.
Paris, Tennessee 38242
Phone: (731) 644-8304 or (731) 644-2271
Blake Chandler, MD & Kyle Stephens, DO
West TN Bone and Joint Specialists
1004-A Cornerstone Dr.
Paris, Tennessee 38242
Phone: (731) 644-0474