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Caring for Injuries Among Older Adults
Older adults tend to be less active as a whole, but many remain or choose to become physically active. Motivated athletes ages 50+, like those competing in the 2013 National Senior Games, require guidance on training, injury prevention and care, and performance.
The initial management of musculoskeletal injuries — protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation — is the same for all ages. For both older and younger athletes, delayed evaluation and treatment can produce repeated injury, complicated rehabilitation, delayed recovery and unnecessary time lost from the activity. Appropriate treatment for musculoskeletal sports-related injuries does not stress an aging body.
Studies consistently demonstrate delayed healing of musculoskeletal injuries in older adults. However, they can respond to:
- Active and progressive rehabilitation
- Relative rest and activity modification
- Avoiding total inactivity, which can lead to loss of flexibility, strength and bone mass, and cardiac deconditioning — are key
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