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Spotlight on Men's Orthopedic Health


While most of the tips I’ve provided over the years on ways to boost orthopedic health have been interchangeable for men and women, some interesting bone anatomy differences exist between men and women. These differences can give rise to variations in the experience of orthopedic injuries and conditions for both genders. In most populations worldwide, men have larger and stronger bone and joint surfaces than women, and more bone is present in men at muscle attachment sites. Conversely, women tend to have larger and stronger hip and pelvic bones because of their distinct ability to carry and give birth to children.

Osteoporosis is characterized by the thinning of bones, rendering them more brittle and porous and more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis is common among men but can be misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed because it more frequently affects women. While women are more likely to experience osteopenia and osteoporosis than men, the National Osteoporosis Foundation states that nearly ¼ of American men will break a bone due to osteoporosis at some point in their lifetime, and each year, more than 80,000 men break a hip. After age 50, more women than men will suffer bone fractures. But before 50, men have a higher fracture rate due to their participation in more contact sports activities and typically riskier lifestyle behaviors than women.

Six of the most common orthopedic injuries in men include:

  1. Hand, wrist, and arm fractures
  2. Achilles tendon injuries
  3. Rotator cuff injuries
  4. Bicep tears
  5. Meniscus tears
  6. Osteoporosis

Of course, as the saying goes – “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” So, no matter which gender is more at risk, there is plenty men can do to lower their chances of orthopedic disease and injury. Some simple lifestyle factors men can focus on include:

  • Getting regular checkups with their doctor
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Wearing appropriate and supportive shoes for the activity being engaged in
  • Avoiding activities that put too much or unnecessary stress on the joints.

For various reasons, men are often reluctant to see a doctor when something hurts. Whether they attempt to “tough it out” or ignore it – neither choice is ever the best idea. If you are experiencing orthopedic pain that has not subsided within a few weeks after an offending injury, or you can’t remember an offending injury – it is time to see a doctor. Getting to the bottom of orthopedic problems before they become catastrophic is essential. Sometimes, the toughest thing a guy can do is take charge of his health and set an example for the other men in his life to do the same.


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