Strength training: Bones

April 11, 2008 rooroo

Orthopaedic surgery is brutal. I’ve seen some fairly gruesome surgeries in my time (incidentally, I also met a man at TG who is a horror magician) but there’s nothing like seeing a drill, hearing bones being sawn and the ‘pop’ the head of a femur makes when it’s being taken out. I wince every time. My firm and I were looking for the correct theatre where our consultant was operating the other day, and the following conversation ensued:

A: I wonder which theatre Dr … is ?

Sound of something that not too disimilar to a chainsaw a couple of doors down

A: There we go

I’m enjoying orthopaedics a lot, I have to say. The consultants are probably aware of the reputation orthopaedic surgeons get, so they seem to be making a special effort. I enjoy interpreting x-rays a lot. I’m not so great with chest x-rays unless there’s a blindingly obvious pneumothorax staring at me, but I enjoy tracing the shapes and lines of bones up to see if there are fractures or pieces of bone where they shouldn’t be.

A fractured neck of femur carries a mortality rate of 20-35% after a year. Most of the patients I’ve seen have been older ladies who have had falls and combined with osteoporosis, it’s not always a good prognosis. So far, I’ve never broken a bone, but it’s something I get a bit paranoid about time and again (my biggest day to day irrational fear is being pushed in front of a tube train).

When I first got into weight training, I found out that it was good for improving bone density. Fair enough I thought. I didn’t really take what was on the inside seriously enough until I started a rotation in geriatric medicine. Falls, broken hips, loss of strength and bone density, it was often pretty sad to see.

So I have a greater appreciation for what my body is doing on the inside for me. I hope that when I’m a shrunken old lady, I would have done enough strength training to have a good set of bones, muscles and a better sense of balance. Then again, judging by this lady perhaps if I keep going, I might get to the 20 chin ups stage…


Entry Filed under: strength training

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lady G&hellip  | 

    I definitely have a plan to reap the rewards of exercising now when I am an independent 95 year old!
    I have known a number of elderly women to rapidly go down hill after breaking a hip… 😦

  • 2. dommebell&hellip  | 

    Yeah, hip fractures can potentially be very nasty. It’s quite sad when you think about how many co-mobidities there are in the elderly, like cataracts, osteoporosis, medication that causes low blood pressure etc. Seeing some x-rays often make me wince.

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