Recon

Orthopedics: Help for boomers with aching bones

By Heather Salerno

There are a lot of problem hips in the U.S. And knees. Shoulders. Backs.

More than 1.6 million orthopedic procedures are performed annually in the nation according to the latest estimates from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. That’s a lot of people having operations on the aforementioned hips, knees, shoulders and backs, the most common spots for musculoskeletal problems.

Now check out this figure: A major study projects that the number of total knee replacements alone will jump to 3.48 million — up 673 percent — in 2030. Total hip replacements are expected to rise 174 percent by that time.

Among the reasons for such a huge leap? This country’s aging population has arthritis and an increased rate of obesity, which add stress to the joints. Some baby boomers are also damaging joints with intense physical activity later in life, leading to a rise in sports related injuries in that age group.

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