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Fractures in Elderly Patients- What are Geriatric Fractures?

Old people are more prone to fractures and injuries. A slight injury in young people may cause a fracture in the elderly. The main reason owing to this is that the bones lose their mineral content (osteoporosis) and become weak with age.

Causes of fracture in elderly patients may include:

  • Falls
  • Trauma
  • A direct blow to the body
  • Pressure on bones causing stress fractures
  • Bone cancer

Types of Fractures in the Elderly

Certain fractures are typical of old age. Most common fractures in the elderly include:

  • Fracture neck of femur
  • Fracture of the intertrochanteric region in the femur
  • Fracture of distal end of the radius
  • Osteoporotic compression fractures of the spine (fracture of back)
  • Fractures of the upper end of a humerus

Symptoms of a fracture

Symptoms of a broken or fractured bone may include:

  • Swelling
  • Sudden pain
  • Trouble using or moving the injured area or nearby joints
  • Deformity
  • Redness
  • Bruising

How to diagnose fractures in elderly patients?

After taking a complete history, your orthopaedician will carry out the following tests:

  • X-ray
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
  • Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan) to show detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.

What is the possible treatment of geriatric fractures?

Depending on the location, type and extent of the fracture, your orthopaedician will rule out the best possible treatment, which may include:

  • Splint or cast- to immobilize the injured area to keep the bone in alignment and protect the injured area from motion while the bone heals.
  • Medication: to control pain.
  • Traction: to stretch the muscles and tendons around the broken bone to help the bone ends to align and heal.
  • Surgery: to restore the broken bones back into place by either internal fixation (metal rods or pins located inside the bone) or external fixation devices (metal rods or pins located outside of the body) to hold the bone fragments in place while they heal.

How can you prevent fractures in the elderly?

  • Diet: Ensure sufficient calcium intake through supplements
  • Exposure to sunlight: To provide sufficient vitamin D
  • Weight-bearing exercises
  • Balance training: To prevent any injury from fall due to an imbalance
  • Regular checkups: Visit our proficient orthopaedician, Dr. Ravinder Puri at CMC to get the best treatment for fractures in the elderly.