For aging athletes, advances in sports medicine and orthopedic treatment have indeed made 80 — or 90 — the new 50.
Today, Americans of all ages are more active than ever, participating in sports and active leisure pursuits. Fortunately, medical research has given us technologies and understanding that help keep aging athletes on their feet and going strong.
Aging Athletes Face Unique Challenges
When we talk about aging athletes, we don’t mean seniors of any specific age.
Everyone’s body ages differently, based on genetics, lifestyle and medical history. But as we get older, even the healthiest bodies gradually lose the strength, flexibility and healing ability that we enjoyed in our younger years.
For example, type II (fast twitch) muscle fibers decline, reducing speed. Back, leg and arm strength diminishes. Even the ability to intake and process oxygen drops, based on changes to the cardiovascular system. These factors, especially when combined with a lifetime of wear and tear on the body, can lead to sports injuries and chronic orthopedic conditions.
Fortunately, we have a variety of advanced treatment options to help older athletes overcome injuries. But we also offer comprehensive strategies for preventing orthopedic injuries.
Medical Advances Improve the Lives of Aging Athletes
The best approach for keeping the aging athlete active and pain-free is through prevention. Movement analysis techniques allow us to identify neuromuscular fatigue, biomechanical deficits, range of motion restrictions and abnormal muscle activation patterns.
Using the results of movement analysis, a personalized training regimen can be designed to reduce injury risk and improve performance.
Advances in orthopedic and sports medicine therapies have revolutionized treatment for athletes of all ages. But regenerative medicine and orthobiologic therapies are especially beneficial for active seniors.
Because surgical interventions pose extra risks for older patients, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections, geniculate nerve ablation and visco-supplementation therapies can be life-altering for senior athletes.
Advice for Aging Athletes’ Self-Care
Even though regenerative medicine and other advances in medical science have improved treatment options for patients of all ages, mature athletes can incorporate training and lifestyle changes into their activities that reduce their injury risk.
Getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy, balanced diet and practicing stress management techniques are critical. Younger people can fudge on these priorities without compromising their health. As we get older, the body is much less likely to forgive poor lifestyle choices.
You can also help maintain your orthopedic health by wearing compression apparel and choosing high-quality footwear and sports equipment designed for your sport and conditioning level. A solid training regimen also becomes more important with every passing year of life.
We offer our older patients the latest tools for improving function, reducing pain and achieving peak performance. If you experience a sports injury or orthopedic problem, our regenerative medicine and rehabilitation programs will get you back in the game.
We offer several convenient locations throughout the Salt Lake City area. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about our exclusive programs for aging athletes.