The Aging Musculoskeletal System

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Don’t Ever Get Old Kiddo

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have heard this over the last few years! A common statement made by aging individuals as their bodies wear internally, and externally through age due to the natural aging process we call “LIFE”.

Musculoskeletal atrophy occurs as we age. It diminishes the density of our muscles, and they fade away. Our strength changes as well as the ability for our bodies to strongly support it skeleton mass. It gets hard to move about, we move slower and it hurts! There is pain associated as the muscles “bark back” at us when we get up to move about and do something. We are also forced to move slower, much slower as the bones, joints and muscles in our body articulate together to move our framework as we set out to do the job we intend. My 84 year old father use to say that it was Hell getting old. He would ask us to give him a minute and he’d get it done eventually. I can’t imagine it being different for an 84 years old women. A very small thin elderly women, would be at a greater disadvantage, and be at a greater risk, because she wouldn’t have much of a musculoskeleton to begin with. Movement might be nearly impossible, and often is.

Many older adults are not only affected by muscle atrophy, but they also have an underlying bone disease as well. They have a weakened musculoskeletal system, and they also have a bone or skeletal disease, that weakens and compromises their skeletons as well. Everyday actions, and movements cause pain, and the risk for fall and bone breaks are also associated with these diseases as well. Osteoarthritis, also known as (OA) is by far the most common disorder to affect human joints. Its prevalence increases markedly with age such that it is a major cause of pain and disability in the elderly. The small joints of the hand, neck, low back and big toe are commonly affected but it is large joint OA of the knee and hip that causes the greatest community burden....
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