Doctor's Day special: Bone and joint problems in the era of COVID-19
Osteoarthritic patients with worn out joints who could not go out for their regular strolls and excercises suddenly found themselves to have extremely stiff and locked joints
The Covid 19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown measures have had a drastic changes in our way of life in the past few months. Dr Sinukumar Bhaskaran , Joint replacement specialist and Orthopedic consultant looks back at how the lockdown has impacted bone and joint health.
Dr Sinukumar starts off by mentioning the positive change such as reduced number of road traffic accidents because of diminished traffic. Major long bone injuries have come down to just about a third of what it was before the lockdown. But with the unlocking phase setting we are once again seeing a gradual increase in such traumas.
The other observation was the extreme of age groups ie .children and elderly did have an increase number of domestic falls and fractures.The senior trying to help in the household or the lack of maids leading them to perform activities which they were unaccustomed to leading to loss of balance and falls. They usually ended up with hip or spine fractures and with the former usually requiring surgical intervention.
Whereas children with the schools cancelled and outdoor activity being restricted , were forced to play within the house leading to falls and usually sustaining elbow and forearm fractures.
There was also a very disturbing segment of injuries related to domestic violence which although didn't lead to significant physical trauma one can fathom the psychological impacts of such events are enormous on a family.
Besides acute injuries the life style changes induced recurrence or development of certain chronic ailments.
The absence of helps meant having to do unaccustomed household chores like cleaning and cooking and a lot of patients presented with tennis elbows and shoulder strains. Also lot of people picked up new hobbies and habits like baking, painting etc all of which lead to forearm stresses and hence the increased number of tennis elbow cases.
The work from home concept lead to people spending lot of hours in front of laptops and in the absence of proper ergonomic furniture at home there was a spike in cervical and lumbar spine problems. Osteoarthritic patients with worn out joints who could not go out for their regular strolls and excercises suddenly found themselves to have extremely stiff and locked joints. Many of these patients found it difficult to even go about their basic routines at home and needed surgical intervention to regain their mobility.
People hence need to realise that even if you are locked up in your house one should try and maintain a regular routine of gentle excercises and movements within the house. Strenuous household chores though helps in burning calories if one is not careful about postures it can cause musculoskeletal ailments.
Also very important to realise that hospitals are catering to non Covid patients as well in these trying times maintaining adequate sanitatization and distancing. Hence one should not delay the need to seek medical attention and let problems worsen because of the fear of contracting Covid. We have seen a lot of cases which have already developed complications because of lack of timely medical attention.
Moreover your doctors are also available through video consultation to give clinical advise. Hence besides taking the much needed precautions of wearing masks , maintaining distancing and hand washing one should also maintain a healthy routine of activities and excercises at home with adequate attention to posture and balance.Try to achieve a positive mental outlook for yourself and your family to make sure the psychological health is optimum by having regular interactions and techniques like meditation etc. Finally do not hesitate to get in touch with your doctors if there are any medical issues.
Stay healthy and stay safe.
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