The Effect Of Parkinson's Disease On Orthopedic Issues

Health & Medical Blog

The Effect Of Parkinson's Disease On Orthopedic Issues


Parkinson's disease–a progressive neuromuscular disorder–can increase the risk of experiencing orthopedic issues, especially as you age. Body rigidity, tremors, balance problems, and slowed movement can lead to instability and loss of bone density–both factors that can increase your risk of falling and breaking bones. Consequently, it's important to be aware of the potential orthopedic problems to which Parkinson's disease can contribute, putting you at greater risk of bone fractures and osteoarthritis (degenerative arthritis) than individuals who don't have the disease.

Risk of Bone Fracture

If you walk less because of mobility problems and don't get outdoors much, getting less sunlight can cause a decrease in vitamin D–a nutrient your body needs to absorb calcium and maintain strong bones. Low bone density leads to weak bones that can break easily. Therefore, if you are at risk of osteoporosis, your physician may recommend a bone density test (DEXA scan) of the hip and spine and preventive treatment if the exam shows low bone density, especially if you have other risk factors.

Factors that can increase your risk of osteoporosis include:

  • Gender. Although men can get osteoporosis, women tend to have thinner, lighter bones that put them at higher risk.
  • Age. As you get older you lose bone mass unless you take steps to keep your bones strong.
  • History of bone fractures. Bones that have been broken previously aren't always as strong.
  • Lifestyle habits. Poor diet, lack of weight-bearing exercise, and heavy alcohol consumption can eventually lead to thinning of bones, which increases your risk of bone fractures if you fall.
  • Family history. If you have a family member who fell and fractured a hip, the same can happen to you.
  • Thinness and bone structure. Less body weight and a small body frame leave you with less bone to lose.

Joint Abnormalities and Spinal Deformities

Individuals with Parkinson's disease often suffer bone, joint, and postural disorders that can make any existing disability due to the disease worse. Although joint pain, stooped posture, bone fractures, and osteoporosis often are treatable conditions, the treatment options vary. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, your doctor may refer you to an orthopedic specialist, such as those at Milford Hospital, who may recommend physical therapy, medications, or surgery.

Spinal deformities, such as degenerative scoliosis, which is characterized by stooped posture, is commonly associated with Parkinson's disease. Muscle and joint stiffness, and poor trunk coordination are other symptoms of Parkinson's disease that affect gait and the ability to transfer from a sitting to a standing position. Although spinal surgery is a treatment option for some spinal deformities, if you have Parkinson's disease, you are at greater risk of complications after surgery.

Delayed Surgical Recovery

If you have surgery to treat an orthopedic condition, Parkinson's disease may inhibit your recovery. The lower bone mass and impaired body movement people with Parkinson's disease generally experience can interfere with bone repair. Even if orthopedic surgery, such as a joint replacement or bone fracture repair, helps to relieve pain, improvement in your mobility may not be lasting as the disease progresses.

Whether or not you have surgery, your doctor may recommend treatments that include supportive therapies such as nutrition and weight-bearing exercise to build bone mass, occupational therapy to learn different ways to complete tasks and maintain independence, and physical therapy to improve your balance and gait to reduce the risk of falls and bone fractures.


10 November 2016

Saving Money On Medical Equipment

When I first got married, I didn't think twice before swiping my credit card. Unfortunately, this attitude caused my spouse and I to get into serious financial trouble early on, especially after a medical situation. Soon, we found ourselves struggling to pay the bills, even though we both worked full-time. After a financial intervention from a few of our family members, we learned ways to save money on everything from groceries to medical equipment. Because the cost of healthcare can be staggering, we decided to create a website dedicated to helping you save money on your medical expenses. I hope that as you peruse the articles on our website, you can find a few tips to save some cash.