By adulthood, the human body contains 360 joints – a remarkable number for such an intricate skeletal system. Joints, a connection made between two bones, undergo constant repetition and use through work, play and daily life. By prioritizing safe movement and a healthy lifestyle, individuals can safeguard their joints long-term.
Common Joint Problems
The impact a joint sustains will vary with each individual and for that reason, their problems may differ, too. While injuries can occur at any time, some types are more common amongst specific age groups.
“In adolescents and teenagers we see a lot of strains and sprains,” said Dr. David Hirschi, MD, a Sports Medicine Specialist at ThedaCare Orthopedic Care in Appleton.
Injuries are common given many young patients’ participation in contact sports – an activity that puts tremendous strain on major joints such as the knees, ankles and wrists.
“Fractures are seen commonly in patients who have open growth plates,” said Hirschi, “as growth plates close, the bones become stronger, then sprains and strains tend to happen more commonly than fractures.”
While young adults tend to sustain injuries from their active lifestyle, the susceptibility of joint trauma for older adults can stem from bone conditions.
“Among the older population we see a lot of arthritis,” said Hirschi, “the most common type of arthritis we see is Osteoarthritis.” Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage and tissue at the end of bones deteriorate. This can in turn, cause bone spurs and joint pain.
Patients can also develop Osteoporosis, a lifelong condition that causes bones to weaken. “As patients get older, and especially in the elderly, bones are a little more brittle and fractures do happen,” said Hirschi.