Mid-October means blazing Lowcountry summer days have finally given way to cool temps, falling leaves and football Saturdays. October 12-20—Bone and Joint Action Week—is also the time when countries around the world focus on bone and joint health.
According to the United States Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI), part of a multi-disciplinary initiative targeting the care of people with musculoskeletal conditions and bone and joint disorders, bone and joint health matters to everyone.
Consider the following facts:
- Fifty-four percent of Americans over the age of 18 are affected by bone and joint conditions.1
- Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide.2
Bone and joint problems are predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy and changes in risk factors. According to board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Edward Blocker, M.D., it’s an issue most people will face during their lifetime.
“Arthritis is basically the wearing down of cartilage,” says Dr. Blocker. “It’s kind of like rubber on a tire that gradually wears down. Our cartilage will gradually wear down. It’s a process that happens in most of our lives, to some people more than others.”
With the graying of American baby boomers, it’s a trend that is fast becoming a new reality. Joint pain can trigger a painful cycle, says board-certified orthopaedic surgeon Kevin Jones, M.D.
“Often, when someone has a painful, arthritic hip or knee, they gradually tend to naturally avoid certain activities,” Dr. Jones says. “Eventually they quit doing things that they really like to do.”
Drs. Blocker and Jones agree that in the case of bone and joint problems, it’s better to tackle the problem early. The first step? Find out exactly what’s causing the pain by seeing a bone and joint specialist.
(1) United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States. Rosemont, IL; 2014. http://www.boneandjointburden.org/2014-report/ib0/prevalence-select-medical-conditions.
(2) Woolf AD, Pfleger B. Burden of major musculoskeletal conditions. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003;81:646-656.