Monday, 9 June 2014

Injury prevention in older age - risk reduction for senior citizens

Injury prevention in older age (over 70 years)

Leading cause of injuries in older adults

  • ·      Falls (bone fractures, joint dislocations, etc.)
  • ·      Choking
  • ·      Heatstroke
  • ·      Burns

Risk factors

The aging process causes changes in people related to normal mental and physical capacities:

  • ·      Diminution of vision;
  • ·      Degenerative joint disease (pain causes less mobility);
  • · Osteoporosis (progressive bone disease that is characterized by a decrease in bone mass and density);
  • ·      Decrease in strength and flexibility;
  • ·      Slowness in the posture control.

Tips to prevent injuries

Sometimes a lifestyle modification is necessary. Physical activity has to be adapted to current capacity.

It is important:
  • ·  Weight control (if there is overweight) and moderate exercise are beneficial with respect to pain and function in the knees and hips worn by aging;
  • ·      Remove clutter at home. Do not leave objects on the stairs or walkways;
  • ·      Use nightlights in the bedroom, hall and bathroom;
  • ·      Avoid loose rugs to avoid tripping;
  • ·      Use hand grip bars in the bathroom and shower area;
  • ·      A shower unit is preferable to a bathtub;
  •     Be sure the bottom of the bath tub or shower has a non-slip surface;
  • ·      Avoid contact sports. There is more risk of injuries than in other kinds of sport;
  • ·      No standing on unstable areas (chairs, ladders, etc.);
  • ·      Balanced diet (plenty of water, fruit vitamins, vegetables, no diets high in animal protein etc.);
  • ·   Avoid going outside during the hottest hours of the day and protect yourself from the sun by using sun cream, wearing a sun hat and sun glasses and walking in the shade;
  • ·      Home care and assistance (with centralized called device, for example).

Home care and assistance

Home care is the resource system directed to help and care for  people at home when they cease to be fully autonomous, for any reason (they are usually elderly).

There are three types of services:
  •          Personal attention service;
  •      Home care service;
  •      Integration in the environment service.

There are also other services like:
  • ·      Telecare
  • ·      Adaptation to housing
  • ·      Meals on wheels
  • ·      Laundry at home
  • ·      Nursing or physiotherapy at home, etc.

Telecare allows calling from home in case of emergency. The person has a button (medallion or bracelet) and a hands free system that allows communication with a control unit 24 hours a day. When the person presses the button, a care control operative contacts the user through a loudspeaker that allows communication between the two to resolve the problem, that may include sending a doctor, ambulance or firemen, as necessary.

Elena Miguel Poza - Nurse, nursing coordinator & trainer - Enfermera coordinadora y profesora de enfermería - IMTRA Instituto Madrileño de Traumatologia (Madrid Spain)
Tel: (0034) 915545405 Email: Web site in English: Web site in Spanish:

Monday, 2 June 2014

Why is orthopaedic surgery important?

Orthopaedic surgery is the branch of surgery concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system. Orthopaedic surgeons use both surgical and non-surgical treatment for musculoskeletal trauma, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumours and congenital disorders.

Work injuries

In many jobs, workers have a lot of risks of orthopaedic injuries, for example, bone fractures caused by falling down, soft tissue injury from knocks or cuts. It is necessary to identify potential hazards and to recommend the safest way to do the job using preventive measures.

Sports injuries

Currently, the young adult likes to do sport in his free time, and it is the cause of many injuries. It is necessary to take steps to prevent injuries:

a)   First of all gently stretch;
b)   Warm up muscles before exercise;
c)   Start the exercise with light, gentle movements at first and gradually increase resistance and speed;
d)   Week by week slowly build up the intensity of exercise sessions;
e)   Use proper equipment.

The most frequent injuries occurring doing sports are:

·      Contusion, wound or sprain;
·      Bone fractures of the radius and ulna (forearm), tibia and fibula (shin), femur (thigh) etc.;
·      Tear menisci or tear anterior cruciate ligament in the knee
·      Tear of rotator cuff tendon in the shoulder.

The most common sports that I see causing injuries which I receive in the IMTRA Clinic are:

·      Team sports like football, rugby, basketball, volleyball and handball;
·      Racket sports such as padel, tennis and squash;
·      Outdoor and adventure sports including mountain biking, fell running, rafting, sailing, kayaking, hiking and climbing;
·      Winter sports including skiing and snowboarding;
·      Long distance, half marathon and marathon running;
·      Track and filed athletics including running, long jump, high jump, hurdles, javelin and shot put;
·      Gymastics and dance.

The treatment of each lesion has to be evaluated by a competent professional. Sometimes the immobilization is enough but other times it is necessary to undergo surgical treatment for example through knee arthroscopy, repair of fracture, shoulder arthroscopy, etc.

Elena Miguel Poza - Nurse, nursing coordinator & trainer - Enfermera coordinadora y profesora de enfermería - IMTRA Instituto Madrileño de Traumatologia (Madrid Spain)
Tel: (0034) 915545405 Email: Web site in English: Web site in Spanish: