Rare diseases of skeletal system
The human form is comprised of 206 bones that are held together by a series of ligaments and connective tissue attachments. Beyond allowing locomotion, the skeleton protects vital organs such as the brain, heart and lungs and abdominal organs. However, our skeletal system is prone to injury, wear and tear, infections, tumor and metabolic conditions that damage bone and can become life threatening. Listed below are some common skeletal system diseases.
Arthritis exists in two main forms.
Osteoarthritis is the wear and tear our bones and joints experience over time. Obesity is an important factor that can accelerate osteoarthritis, especially of the knees and hips. All joints are lined with cartilage to provide cushioning and synovial fluid to help lubricate the joint through a range of motion. Over time, these tissues break down and wear away leading to bone spur formation, joint narrowing, inflammation and pain. Severe osteoarthritis management consists of pain control and at times steroid joint injections can provide temporary relief. Advanced cases are treated with joint replacement.
Autoimmune arthritis occurs when the body attacks itself and damages joints. Rheumatoid arthritis is one example and over time, results in severe joint destruction and chronic debilitation. Treatments are geared toward managing pain and modulating the immune system to limit further destruction.
As bone mineral density decreases, bones loose their integral strength. Age, hormone status and diet all play a vital role in osteoporosis. Bones become progressively weak and are prone to fractures with minor trauma.
3. Rickets/ Osteomalacia
Rickets is caused from a severe deficiency of calcium, vitamin D and phosphate. Bones soften and become weak losing their normal shape. Bone pain, muscle cramps and skeletal deformities occur.
Overuse or injury of the tendons results in inflammation and pain. Tendons connect muscle to bone and facilitate movement. Commonly affected areas include the knee, elbow, wrist and Achilles’ tendon. Treatment includes rest, ice and modifying activities until the pain and inflammation resolve.
Clubfoot is a birth defect resulting one or both feet pointing inward and downward. This makes learning to walk difficult and specialized orthopedic therapy or surgery is often required. The medical term for this condition is talipes equinovarus.
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