You may think visiting an orthopedist is unnecessary unless you have a problem, but you might want to reconsider. Bone and joint health are essential to your overall wellness, just like a physical exam and preventive screenings. Here are three reasons to visit an orthopedist, regardless of your age.
Our bone tissue changes with age
Years of daily activity can take its toll on bones, joints and ligaments. Over time, bones lose minerals and density. They become more brittle, which increases the risk of falls and injury. Calcium, the mineral your body needs to build and maintain healthy bones, can decrease to low levels and affect bone strength.
Arthritis can develop at any time
Arthritis is a common condition that develops when joints get inflamed and swollen. According to the CDC, about 15 million Americans (one in four) have severe joint pain because of their arthritis. Also, about half say they experience persistent pain.
Anyone can develop arthritis, but older people are more susceptible. Daily wear and tear can erode the soft cartilage that cushions the joints, resulting in osteoarthritis. Athletes can develop arthritis by joint overuse or injury.
Osteoporosis affects everyone
Osteoporosis is a bone disease that develops when bone mass and bone mineral density decrease. It can also develop when the strength or structure of bone changes. Many people assume osteoporosis only affects females, but this is incorrect. While post-menopausal women are at increased risk for bone loss, all people lose bone density with age. About 25 percent of all bone fractures in adults older than 50 are men. Common fracture sites are the hip, spine and wrist.
Make your bone and joint health a priority
Life is busy, but your bone and joint health are worth the investment. A yearly appointment with an orthopedist can help ensure your joints function well and you maintain bone strength. Your doctor can recommend exercises, dietary changes, supplements or therapy.
Sometimes, your doctor may suggest a procedure like a total hip replacement, shoulder surgery or knee arthroscopy. Often, treatment plans combine an array of options. Your doctor will fully explain your choices and the pros and cons during your appointment.
Schedule your surgery at an ASC
If you have been considering an orthopedic procedure like a knee or hip replacement, scheduling your surgery in the second half of the year may make financial sense. Studies show most patients meet their deductible by May, so you might have already met your annual deductible.
If this is the case, don’t delay scheduling your procedure. Call your insurance company to verify whether you have met your deductible or are close to meeting it. You can also ask for an estimate of benefits to get a complete picture of out-of-pocket costs.
Another way to reduce costs is to choose an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) for your procedure. ASCs are accredited and certified by industry organizations for quality and safety, and they provide personalized care in a home-like setting. When deciding where to schedule your procedure, ask about facility and surgeon fees, and select an in-network surgery center.
A visit to your orthopedist does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. With some planning, you can prioritize your joint health, even when you’re pressed for time!