Nurse Kathy Juran has been in the orthopedic world for over thirty years as a confident and skilled caretaker. Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with her and discuss the topics of bone care, accident prevention, and orthopedic surgery. I found her knowledge to be essential for anyone in need of healthy bones.

Me: What are some basics facts we need to know about our bones?

Kathy Juran: The first thing to understand is that more women fracture their bones than men because of osteoporosis, which is the loss of bone density over time. Today, a lot of doctors are doing bone density scans at an earlier stage in life so that they can properly medicate patients in an attempt to slow or reverse osteoporosis. Another factor is that as you get older, many people tend to develop severe arthritis, which essentially leads to joint replacement. Basically, joint replacement is used to prevent fractions due to falls or get rid of joint pains in one’s hips, knees, and shoulders. But older adults must remember that joint pain stems from a diverse array of reasons. One’s lifestyle can play a large role, such as manual labor type jobs, as well as family history and genetics.

Me: What are some ways to prevent bone fractions?

Kathy Juran: There are many simple ways to prevent a fall:

  • Wear a solid shoe.
  • Pick up any type of rugs, cords, etc.
  • Make sure to watch where you’re walking; tile floor is usually slippery!
  • If you are using a cane/walker/crutches, find one that is comfortable for you.
  • Invest in an elevated toilet seat.
  • Use safety bars or rails wherever you can.
  • Chairs with arms are usually more stable.
  • Avoid sitting in low chairs; find something with a lot of support.

Me: If bone replacement surgery is necessary, what can a patient do to prepare?

Kathy Juran: First, it is important to know that bone replacement surgery is used as a last resort. It is only preformed after every other option is exhausted. Prior to surgery, a patient must be in excellent health. An infection anywhere on the body can risk further infection, due to the surgery. Get a checkup prior to the operation. Secondly, it is necessary to find a surgeon with whom you feel comfortable. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or say, “this doctor is not for me.”

Me: What are some tips for after surgery

Kathy Juran: Most patients think they are going to spring back to having young bones, but it takes a lot of time and work for the surgery to set fully, usually about two to three years. Even so, your bones will never heal to what they used to be. Patients must realize that this surgery is used to relieve the pain, and from there, the quality of life improves as it becomes easier to get around. Therapy, medication, such as antibiotics and blood thinners, and time will strengthen the work done in surgery. Of course, there is always a risk while doing surgery, and it is possible for different bones to fracture during this operation. However, bone replacement surgery is a safe, common, and effective procedure that usually leaves patients with a more comfortable lifestyle.

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For more information regarding orthopedic recovery and rehabilitation, please visit Short-Term Rehabilitation.

Melanie Marzillo
Research & Community Education

Chicago Skilled Nursing
Chicago Senior Living