National Bone And Joint Day is observed on August 4 every year in India. This country-wide health campaign was inaugurated by the Indian Orthopaedic Association (IOA) in 2012, to emphasize the importance of ensuring fortified bones and tough joints in people of all ages. It also aims to inculcate knowledge about degenerative disorders like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, bone cancers like osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Paget’s disease of bone and osteonecrosis. The Indian Orthopaedic Association was founded in 1955 and as of today in 2021, comprises over 10,000 members from the medical and healthcare domain.
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The IOA has many sub-speciality societies such as Trauma Societies Of India, Oncology Section Of IOA, Indian Orthopaedic Rheumatology Association, Implant Committee and Indian Arthroplasty. In addition to recognizing National Bone And Joint Day on August 4, the IOA has also earmarked the entire week from August 1 – 7 as Bone And Joint Week. Various educational drives are organized by medical experts to create awareness amongst the general public on how to prevent debilitating illnesses in the connective tissues. In addition, health camps are conducted by doctors and surgeons offering free bone mineral density tests and surgeries for patients from poor communities.
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With regards to taking care of the mobile parts of the body which enable us to perform numerous physical actions with ease and also assure a better quality of life in later years, getting bones and joints checked routinely is essential.
7 Key Health Evaluations To Safeguard Strong Bones And Joints:
The doctor carefully observes the external appearance of the bones, muscles, joints in the arms, legs, neck, shoulders and body to look for signs of swelling, redness, inflammation, weakness/atrophy. This simple test also helps identify distorted muscles, the irregular orientation of bones, joints or unusual growths on the hard tissues such as cysts, calluses, to provide appropriate treatment or medical aid to resolve the condition.
Range Of Motion Testing
Also known as flexibility testing, the range of motion tests are basic analyses to determine the ability and extent of movement of several joints in the body. These tests are conducted either in an active manner wherein the patient moves the joints on their own, or in a passive manner in which the doctor holds the joint and flexes it in different directions and across wider distances to check its agility.
Bone Density Scan
In a bone density scan, the DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) technology is employed, to evaluate the levels of calcium and other minerals contained in the bones. It is a very useful test to identify signs and severity of osteoporosis, entailing an X-ray scanning apparatus that moves along the length of the body to obtain images of the foremost joints - hips, shoulders, elbows, knees, spine.
X-ray or radiography is the most commonly used technique to determine the site and nature of injuries or diseases in the bones and joints. An X-ray captures the shallow and dense regions in the bones and joints, which helps the physician detect instances of broken bones i.e. fractures, joint dislocation, bone tumours and cell death in the osteocytes i.e. bone death/osteonecrosis.
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Palpation refers to the simple process of touching the bone and joint tissues to assess if any aberrant changes are present. The doctor feels the outer skin along the length of the bones and joints to observe if any portion is swollen which signals inflammation in the area. It is valuable in spotting any prominent growths in the bone and joint tissues like tumours, corns or cysts. The healthcare provider also asks the patient to move the particular joint while touching it, to take note of any popping or snapping sounds, or detect any abnormal positioning of the tendons.
Synovial Fluid Aspiration
This procedure involves inserting a sterile syringe into the affected joints to extract a portion of the synovial fluid – the fluid present within the joints. This is either done as a treatment protocol in health anomalies like bursitis to drain excess fluid from the joints, or as an analysis process to investigate the contents of synovial fluid in the laboratory. The latter is useful in diagnosing severe infections or inflammatory reactions occurring in the joints.
In arthrography, a contrast dye made of iodine solution is injected into the joints, which functions as a marker and clearly outlines the structures of the tendons, ligaments, cartilage and joint capsules in the area. The images are captured in a fluoroscope – a specialised x-ray machine that promptly displays the scanned regions, which in turn helps to establish what is triggering any unexplained joint pain in the body.