Chronic orthopedic conditions, in essence, are those affecting the bones, joints, and soft tissues whose course lasts longer than a year and cannot be cured—only managed or controlled with ongoing treatment.
Just like any other chronic condition affecting other structures or organs of the body, chronic orthopedic problems cause symptoms that are gradual in onset. Many chronic orthopedic conditions are progressive in nature, meaning their symptoms worsen over time and lead to a general decline in the person’s mobility, function, and overall health.
Here, we’ll talk about a few chronic orthopedic conditions millions of Americans are living with. These conditions are among the drivers of the nation’s multi-trillion-dollar healthcare costs.
It’s estimated that 24 percent of the adult population in the United States is affected by arthritis. Not only that, it is also the leading cause of work disability, with annual costs for medical care and lost earnings reaching over $300 billion.
Arthritis is an umbrella term encompassing over 100 conditions that cause joint inflammation. Arthritis is more common in women than men, though anyone of any age or gender can develop arthritis.
The two most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:
- Osteoarthritis (OA) causes an eventual breakdown of cartilage, resulting in painful bone-on-bone rubbing. OA most often develops in weight-bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, and spine.
- Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune, inflammatory condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks the lining of your joints, causing painful swelling. RA usually affects many joints at once, and presents symmetrical symptoms, meaning you experience pain and swelling in mirrored joints in both sides of your body.
Osteoporosis affects more than 10 million Americans. Studies suggest that about 1 in 2 women and 1 in 4 men will break a bone due to osteoporosis. The condition typically affects postmenopausal women because estrogen levels dramatically decline after menopause, leading to a rapid decrease in bone density.
Osteoporosis occurs when bone mass is lost faster than it gets replenished. Osteoporosis is dubbed a silent disease because it presents no symptoms in its early stages: most people do not know that they have it until they experience a fracture during a minor fall.
Fibromyalgia affects more than 4 million American adults. Albeit it can develop in both sexes, fibromyalgia is most prevalent among middle-aged women, who account for up to 90 percent of people who get diagnosed with the condition.
This chronic orthopedic condition causes widespread musculoskeletal pain and stiffness, which are often accompanied by memory problems, fatigue, twitches or cramps, numbness, headaches, among other symptoms. The pain is described as intense and constant, as though your tissues are being pounded by a meat tenderizer.
The exact cause of fibromyalgia is unknown, but researchers ascribe it to an interplay of immune, genetic, and biochemical factors.
Top-Notch Orthopedic Care in San Antonio, TX
For exceptional orthopedic care in San Antonio, Texas, visit us here at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. Our dynamic team includes board-certified orthopedic doctors who are best known for the wide range of innovative and proven-effective solutions they offer for all sorts of musculoskeletal problems—from simple, acute injuries to complex, chronic conditions.
To make an appointment with one of our orthopedic doctors, call our staff today at 210-692-7400. You may also use our appointment request form, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible to confirm your schedule. We look forward to serving you!