Keeping an eye on your orthopedic health and knowing what to expect with your body is an essential step in preventing injury. As we age, our bones begin losing a majority of the density that had been built up in its earlier development. This can lead to increased risk of injury over time, as the older your body (and your bones) get, the weaker they are, and the more susceptible they become to fractures or breaks. According to the National Institutes of Health, incidents involving fractures are 10-15 times more likely to occur in adults aged 60 or older. Additionally, each person’s body is different and will require specific variations of treatment. For example, studies have shown that men and women each have unique orthopedic injuries, most attributed to their genetics, structural anatomies, and participation in repetitive physical movements or activities.
A major orthopedic injury that affects more men than women would be that of the ever-painful Achilles Tear. The Achilles tendon, which connects your calf muscle to your heel bone, is the largest tendon in your body and is used for all of your common daily movements. According to Dr. Timothy Miller, an assistant professor of clinical orthopedics at Ohio State University, men are three times as likely to get this orthopedic injury as women are. Be mindful of Achilles tendon injuries when participating in sports like track, football, and basketball.
Proper footwear and comfortable fitting shoes can help everyone prevent these injuries from occurring. “Having proper footwear can relieve a lot of common orthopedic issues, from plantar fasciitis to knee, hip or even low back pain. Your lower extremity alignment and foot structure, as well as what type of activities you do will determine what type of shoe would be best for you.” – Irene Lee, PT, DPT. In the event that an injury still develops, you’ll need to abruptly engage in methods of treatment. For the first few weeks after the injury, keep the ankle immobile while the muscles heal correctly. Sports rehabilitation will almost always be necessary for an Achilles tear injury, helping to re-train the muscles to move correctly so that you can resume normal activity in the future.
Another common injury for men involves fractures of the fingers (phalangeal) and of the hands (metacarpal), otherwise known as hand fractures. This injury is associated with any of the bones within your hand breaking, usually caused by sudden hard contact that snaps/bends this extremity in the wrong direction. In a similar fashion to Achilles tears, these orthopedic injuries often occur in men who participate in contact sports. Additionally, the most common type of finger fracture is called the Boxers Fracture, which occurs in the fifth metacarpal of the hand when it suffers through the impact of a punch or strike with a closed fist. If you’re a regular participant in combat sports such as boxing or mixed martial arts, work with your trainer to properly wrap your hands prior to engaging an opponent.
Soft Tissue Injuries
While the two orthopedic injuries mentioned above happen most commonly from sports, soft-tissue injuries (such as sprains, tendinitis, or strains) can happen at any time. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all susceptible to injury as a result of accidents and other occurrences. They are not only caused by acute and sudden injuries but also can be worn down from overuse or repetition of physical activity. This is why soft-tissue injuries are prevalent in men working in physical jobs, where movement and heavy lifting is a central aspect of their daily routines. At MOTION, our experienced team offers tailored care for work-related injuries. Commonly, slips and falls are the primary culprits for workplace injuries. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 26% of the 892,270 nonfatal workplace injuries that occurred in 2018 were as a result of a slip, trip, or fall.
No matter the type of injury, it’s vital that you take proper care of your orthopedic bone health. This is especially the case for men who participate in physical activity that involves the risk of any complication. Should you have any concerns regarding the status of your orthopedic health, a physical therapist can provide several treatment options that are tailored to your needs. If you or a loved one is currently suffering through an orthopedic bone injury, MOTION offers personalized programs to help you get back on your feet. For more information, please get in touch with one of our therapists today.