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Potholed roads are a pain in the back

25 per cent rise in orthopaedic injuries due to bad roads: Docs

Published: 19th September 2017 04:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th September 2017 10:30 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: Riding on city roads has truly become a back-breaking experience as is evident from the 25 per cent rise in orthopaedic-related injuries, apart from accident and trauma cases, during monsoon, say city doctors.

Motorists, especially two-wheeler riders, have complained of chronic conditions like disc prolapse, coccydynia (a condition where the nerves surrounding the tailbone or coccyx have been irritated resulting in chronic pain in the area) and neck pain. Doctors suggest use of four-wheelers or public transport, especially if patients are osteoporotic.

Orthopaedic doctors explain that due to the vertical pressure exerted on the back while applying brakes suddenly, motorists experience such chronic conditions, that are sometimes rectified only by surgery. Some patients also come in with repetitive stress disease -- pain in the left knee mostly from excessive and repetitive use of clutch in four-wheelers, doctors said.

“In younger patients with a good bone stock of the spine, the coccyx gets fractured or the ligaments around it tear. The condition leads to a severe pain called coccydynia. In patients who are older and have weak bones, due to potholes, there are compression fractures in the spine, or ligament and meniscal/soft tissue injuries in the knee or shoulder,” said Dr Chandrashekar P, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Sakra World Hospital.

He added, “During the rainy season, there are 25 per cent more orthopaedic-related injuries. One-fourth of our case load increases during this season. Take cars, buses or trains instead of motorcycles. Go slow, avoid potholes and roadbumps. If patients come with left knee pain, it is related to repetitive stress disease that comes from excessive use of the clutch in four-wheelers.”  

Dr Manoj Sawkar, orthopaedic surgeon, Om Hospital, said, “Out of 60-70 orthopaedic cases we get, at least 20-30 are related to back pain and neck pain. Road bumps are not scientifically made. Most riders come with severe back pain from the pressure exerted from braking too often.”

Dr Chandrashekar H S, Director, Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedics, said, “In four-wheelers, the occupants of the back seat are more susceptible to jumps. Those who travel long distances for work-related activities like 80-100 km per day suffer from severe back ache. We suggest automatic cars for those with pain in the knee as to avoid potholes and bad patches of road as they constantly apply the clutch and the brake. Cases definitely increase during this time of the year. There is a correlation between rain, roads and injuries.”

Craters are his canvas

While most people try to ignore potholes, artist Badal Nanjundswamy seeks to find a solution to fix bad roads through his art. For him, a pothole looks like an empty canvas. In the last four years, he has painted on potholes, open manholes, etc, depicting coffins, crocodiles and snakes, princess and the frog and the Indian toilet. “I might have done more than 50 so far and many such potholes were repaired by BBMP authorities after photos came in newspapers or are circulated in social media,” he said. “Every day thousands of people see a pothole, but they ignore it. For me, a pothole — big or small — is an empty canvas. As an artist, my job is  not to fill potholes, but through my art, I highlight the problems. BBMP authorities often fill it later. I am not protesting, what I do
is a peaceful deal,” he said.

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