A person over the age of 65 is at a higher risk of falling. That risk increases substantially if that person who is over 65 also has osteoarthritis. Of the people who do fall, one in 40 will be hospitalized 1 and of those, half will be dead within the year. Yes, falling is a deadly serious problem.
Why is the risk of falling higher when someone has arthritis? Anyone one who has osteoarthritis in the knees, hips, back, or ankles will tell you that walking becomes more difficult. As mobility becomes more difficult, tripping on that darn rug gets easier. The more joints involved, the more the risk of falling increases. Pain makes matters even worse. And sometimes joint replacement surgery makes falling more likely.
Just when you thought surgery was supposed to help the situation, one study showed that an elderly individual was much more likely to fall within the year after having a knee replaced. 2 The problem with that new knee is that the range of motion can be rather limit...
Our dinner on the Muslim island of Pemba was "Chips and Goat" -- the meat was tiny, dried bits that we HOPED was goat and not something more exotic, so we cheerfully just swallowed it and ate lots of potatoes!
After literally spicing up our lives, we stopped by a forest preserve, again, seldom visited by tourists. We were given a "lecture" by the naturalist on all of the birds and wildlife in the forest. We paid for our tour and began the hike through a variety of eco-systems including a marsh, upland forest, etc. The path was a major challenge for this osteoarthritis patient as the guide easily stepped over huge roots, and ducked under even bigger (to me) low-lying fallen trees. We had a visit to an abandoned colonial sawmill in the forest; but saw only 3 birds in the far distance as our token wildlife! We stopped at another site for a brief viewing of the flying bats, but requested to continue on to the airport so we wouldn't miss our flight to the island of Zanzibar.
In the 14 years since I was "officially diagnosed" with osteoarthritis, I guess I've been quite lucky. Yes, I have nine artificial joints from the waist down, and I'm certainly NOT going to say the surgeries were my idea of fun - neither were all of the follow-up hours of physical-therapy - but yes, I've been lucky. I have only had minimal bouts of horrible pain pre-op and the fun of struggling to get a new joint working correctly, but the reality is, I was fairly ok.
A few short months ago, I suddenly seemed to be falling once in awhile for no obvious reason. This was rather strange for someone who had climbed part of Mt. Kilimanjaro for the SECOND time in January , as well as climbing in the mountains of Madagascar. I was there in February 2011 to photograph endangered animals - and I did so without EVER falling.
The pain in my left hip (yes, it's artificial) suddenly became excruciating with accompanying pain down my entire left leg. The pain in my entire ba...
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