To mark Men’s Health Week (14-20 June), we’re looking at some of the most common musculoskeletal conditions that we diagnose and treat in men here at W27, including symptoms to look out for and what you can do to reduce your risk.
What are musculoskeletal conditions?
The term ‘musculoskeletal conditions’ covers around 150 separate conditions affecting the joints, bones, muscles, spine and systems of the body (such as the vascular system).
How common are they?
According to the World Health Organization, musculoskeletal conditions affect around 1.71 billion people worldwide. They are the leading contributor to disability around the world, limiting mobility and dexterity, limiting the ability to participate in society and causing lower levels of wellbeing. An ageing population means that the number of people with musculoskeletal conditions is increasing rapidly. The WHO reports that most common problems are fractures (436 million worldwide), followed by osteoarthritis (343 million), other injuries (305 million) and neck pain (222 million).
Common conditions affecting men
In June 2015, The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons published a research paper called Male and Female Differences in Musculoskeletal Disease. A team of researchers from the universities of Connecticut, Minnesota Twin Cities, Yale and Florida Health Science Center looked at gender difference in musculoskeletal conditions affecting men and women. Overall, women seem to do far worse than men in most common musculoskeletal conditions, with some notable exceptions.
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries are common among both men and women, particularly those who participate in high impact sports such as football and basketball. The researchers found that the ratio of women and men developing ACL tears is 3:1, which they attribute partly to neuromuscular differences such as the width of the intercondylar notch which may be narrower in women. The anterior cruciate ligaments support the knee joint and help to keep it stable. Injuries are graded from 1 (stretching of the ligaments) to 3 (a complete tear). You may require an MRI scan or X-ray and, in the case of severe tears, surgical repair may be necessary.
- Ankle sprains are also common in both men and women and can lead to chronic ankle instability. Women are nearly twice as likely to sustain ankle sprains as men and also have higher rates of chronic instability. We offer X-rays and other types of diagnostic imaging to diagnose chronic ankle instability.
- Shoulder dislocations are another common injury linked to sport and there is very little difference in the rate of injury among men and women. Women tend to have greater anterior glenohumeral laxity than men and less stiffness in the shoulder. When the research team evaluated the outcomes of the arthroscopic Bankart stabilisation procedure, they noted that men generally experience better outcomes than women.
- Osteoporosis, which is a deterioration of bone mass leading to fragility and an increased risk of fractures, is most commonly seen in women as the decline in oestrogen levels after menopause has a detrimental impact on overall bone health. However, men can also be affected. The researchers found the prevalence of osteoporosis in the US in people over the age of 50 to be around 4% in men (compared to 16% in women). Men with osteoporosis are more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated due to low recognition of the condition. In Canada, according to the research study, 90% of men with osteoporosis were untreated.
- Hip fractures are an increasingly common injury in older people, including men. However while osteoporosis can be a factor for men who sustain this type of injury, it is only one of a number of possible diagnoses with others including rheumatoid arthritis, alcoholism and gonadal deficiencies, as well as smoking, low physical activity and use of corticosteroids. Hip fractures are three times less common among men than women, however, men who do sustain this type of fracture generally have greater bone loss. Outcomes also tend to be worse for men with increased morbidity and a twofold increase in mortality.
- Hand fractures are significantly more common in men than women, with 76% of those presenting with metacarpal fractures being men and 58% of those with phalangeal fractures. The researchers do not theorise about the reasons for this, however, it may be linked to certain types of sporting or occupational activities.
If you sustain a musculoskeletal injury or develop a chronic condition it is important to get a proper diagnosis as there are many different treatments available which may not always involve surgery.
If you have suffered a sporting injury, whether due to an accident or as a result of long-term damage, contact W27 for specialist advice and diagnosis.
SPORTS INJURY TREATMENT | MANCHESTER, LONDON, CHESHIRE + MORE
W27 provides fast, accurate diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal symptoms and conditions using the latest state-of-the-art imaging facilities.
For your appointment there is a choice of locations:
The OrthTeam Centre Ohm Building – 168 Barlow Moor Road, Manchester, M20 2AF
Euxton Hall Hospital – Wigan Road, Euxton, Chorley, PR7 6DY
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre Manchester – 26-28 The Boulevard, Manchester, M20 2EU
The John Charnley Wing, Wrightington Hospital – Hall Lane, Appley Bridge, Wigan, WN6 9EP
The Spire Manchester – 170 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2AF
MedSerena Upright MRI Centre London – 114a Cromwell Road, Kensington, London, SW7 4ES
HCA The Wilmslow Hospital – 52 Alderley Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 1NY
Information about our Fees can be found here.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options with a specialist, please contact the team to book an initial consultation.