Winter in the Quad Cities is in full swing, and that means the occasional slip or slide on local sidewalks and driveways. But according to ORA Orthopedics Surgeon, Dr. Edward Connolly, for the elderly, poor balance along with aging or brittle bones can spell more trouble than just a bump or bruise.
“As we all age, we lose calcium from our bones. It can lead to osteoporosis, a condition common to women, but also found in men. Older bones are not as dense and their strength is not the same. So when seniors take a tumble, their injury can be more severe and recovery more prolonged, compared to younger patients who tend to bounce back more quickly.”
Dr. Connolly says even as we age, there are ways to combat brittle bones including activity, supplements, and other treatments.
Dr. Connolly says the older we get, the more likely it is to break a bone. Improving bone density is key for maintaining strong bone health. Hip, wrist, and shoulder fractures are more common during the slippery months.
Hip fractures are especially devastating for seniors. “There’s a big decrease in mobility which increases the risk for health issues such as pneumonia, bed sores, and heart problems.” Dr. Connolly says national statistics show mortality rates after a hip fracture in some patients can be as high as 50% in the first year following the injury.