Surgical Management of the Aging Athlete

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Epidemiologic data show that the number of middle aged (>40 yr) and elderly (>65 yr) individuals continues to increase steadily, creating an expanding need for sports medicine care. Management of injuries in this subset of patients is expanding well beyond sustaining a patient’s ability to perform activities of daily living. In fact, many older individuals increasingly expect to maintain reasonably high activity levels throughout their lifespan as well as after musculoskeletal injury. While a number of the emerging physiologic benefits of physical activity in older patients have been outlined, no recent review has outlined the current best surgical techniques, rehabilitation protocols, and return-to-sport recommendations for older athletes after soft-tissue repair or reconstruction as well as joint replacement. The goal of orthopaedic care in the elderly patient is shifting from simple pain relief toward return to athletic activity.

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