SPORTS MEDICINE :
SPORTS INJURIES :
ELDERLY AGING GERONTOLOGY GERIATRIC :
PHYSICAL EXERCISE AND FITNESS :
Aging, Physical Activity and Sports Injuries.
An Overview of Common Sports Injuries in the Elderly.
Sports Med. 1995 Jul;20(1):41-52.
Aging, physical activity and sports injuries. An overview of common sports
injuries in the elderly.
Kallinen M1, Markku A.
Peurunka-Medical Rehabilitation and Physical Exercise Centre, Laukaa,
Illness and aging both cause many structural and functional alterations in
the human body, rendering elderly people liable to overloading of the
musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. It should, however, be kept in
mind that immobilisation and inactivity have even more deleterious effects
on structures and functions in the elderly than in younger adults. Most
physically active elderly people are selected individuals with respect to
their superior health and physical capacity compared with inactive persons
of the same age, thus making it possible to further improve their physical
capacity. They will, however, be affected by some of the drawbacks of
physical overloading, mostly due to the diminished ability of aging body
systems to adapt to high levels of loading. The safety margin of an
exercise dose tends to decline with aging. Exertional injuries are common
among the elderly, and are connected mostly with degenerative aging
processes. Acute injuries are common in those elderly people participating
in sport activities which demand high coordination, reaction time, and
balance capabilities, such as ball games, down-hill skiing, and
gymnastics. Muscle has been reported to be the most commonly acutely
injured tissue among active elderly athletes. The lower extremities are
the most susceptible to injury. A large proportion of injuries (acute and
exertional) are mild and can be treated by brief cessation of training and
competition activities. Some of the injuries are, however, long term and
cause disability not only during training and competition, but also in the
normal activities of daily living. It is important that these injuries are
treated as soon as possible and in the most effective way, similarly to
injuries suffered by younger people. In treating elderly people, it is
most important to avoid the detrimental effects of immobilisation; this
requires active treatment and rehabilitation with compensatory exercise
therapy. The best 'treatment' for sports-related injuries is prevention.
Good agility, technical skills, and cardiovascular and musculoskeletal
fitness are important in injury prevention among the elderly. Appropriate
training programmes, the use of safe and familiar equipment, careful
warming up and cooling down, multiphasic training [including the training
of neurophysiological functions (balance, coordination and reaction time)]
and muscle strength are essential aspects of injury prevention.
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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