By Dr Arun Jain, M.B.B.S.,M.S. (ORTHO).
Today when there is a growing emphasis onhealth care, knee care is still not a priority. A knee ache is dismissed off asbeing too insignificant or is at best, treated locally. The truth is strong,healthy & mobile joints are vital to overall well being. The good news isnow there is expert guidance available on every aspect of knee care.
The kneejoint is the largest and most complex and therefore the moststressed joint in the body. It is this complexity and stress which can causearthritis. If you are prevented from carrying out your everyday activities dueto pain or discomfort in the knee, then you may have arthritis of some kind.Similarly, difficulty in bending, squatting, kneeling, and walking may beindications that you may have knee arthritis. Osteoarthritis (also known as OA) is the mostcommon type of arthritis and one of the most common causes of knee pain.
SYMPTOMS OF KNEE ARTHRITIS-
STAGE-1 -Pain tends to come in a succession of stagesfor people suffering knee arthritis. At first, you may feel a low grade achingthat develops gradually over some years. When you put your weight on anarthritic knee, the pain will become much more obvious. Then you will find itprogressively more difficult getting up out of a chair, off the toilet, orgoing up and down the stairs. The pain will begin to disturb your sleep atnight and you may need to start taking painkillers to get enough rest.
STAGE-2 -You begin to cut back on you dailyactivities to cope with the knee pain. For example, you walk less; you decidethat gardening is too difficult now; or that you can’t keep up with thehousework. Maybe you feel you can’t carry the groceries into the house anymore.Perhaps you’re avoiding stairs now, or choosing not to take part in certainrecreational activities. In other words, when you are having difficultyperforming normal activities of daily living, you may need a knee replacement.
STAGE-3 -A person begins taking pain medicationto ease the recurring, physical discomfort in the kneejoint.
We suggest that if you have come to any of these stages, you seekadvice from a doctor. A doctor will take x-rays of your knee joint to see howmuch damage has occurred. Depending on the extent of your knee problems, yourdoctor may suggest conservative treatments beforedeciding to operate on the knee.
WHAT HAPPENS INKNEES WITH OSTEOARTHRITIS-? A healthy knee has cartilage and lubricating jointfluid — called synovial fluid — to protect and cushion the bones,allowing the knee to move and bend. In knees with osteoarthritis, thecartilage protecting the ends of the bones gradually deteriorates, and thejoint fluid loses its shock-absorbing qualities. Bones may begin to rub againsteach other, causing the common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis — pain,stiffness and loss of movement in the joint.
HOW KNEEOSTEOARTHRITIS PROGRESSES-Doctors use two different sets of terminology to talk about the severityof osteoarthritis. Some may characterize osteoarthritis as grade 1 to 4. Otherdoctors may describe osteoarthritis as mild, moderate or severe. Osteoarthritis--Keepin mind that the grade or stage of osteoarthritis and the level of pain aren’tnecessarily connected. You can have mild osteoarthritis with considerable painor severe osteoarthritis with little pain, so it’s important to discuss yourpain in detail when talking to a doctor.
VICIOUS CYCLE OFOSTEOARTHRITIS- Knee pain leads to— Inactivity. Weight gain. Whichcan lead to more pain? Finding that initial knee pain relief is an importantfirst step. But because osteoarthritis is a chronic condition — meaning itnever completely goes away — it’s all the more important to break the cyclenow. You need to actively manage your osteoarthritis, just like other chronicconditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, to help keep the symptomsand pain from returning.
WHAT CAN BE DONEABOUT KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS- Osteoarthritis of the knee is a chronic condition that typically developsslowly and gradually worsens over time. Though there is no cure for osteoarthritis,the symptoms are treatable, especially in the early stages of the disease. Ifyou have pain or stiffness in your knees, talk to your doctor to find out ifyou have osteoarthritis.
So how can you get on the right track tostaying ahead of osteoarthritis knee pain and enjoying an active lifestyle- Usethe osteoarthritis knee pain relief provided by intra articular injection, reapthe benefits of exercise and get back to the active pursuits you enjoy.
#1 – EDUCATE YOURSELF --
CONSERVATIVE (NON-INVASIVE) TREATMENT OPTIONS-
Medication-Anti-inflammatory agents, Glucosamine ,Chondroitin,
Visco supplementation. - Ifyou’ve tried diet, exercise and over-the-counter pain medication and still haveosteoarthritis knee pain, talk to your doctor. You may be a candidate forvisco-supplementation.
Exercises andphysical therapy.
#2 – STAY ACTIVE -Exerciseis important in terms of maintaining joint health and even slowing theprogression of osteoarthritis. It helps strengthen the muscles supportingyour knee while helping maintain flexibility. It gets your heart pumpingblood faster through your body, warming tissues and bringing them the oxygenand nutrients needed for repair.
#3 – MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT – For eachextra pound you carry, your knees feel three to five. Not only can the right foods help keep you at ahealthy weight to reduce the strain on your knees, they also contain nutrientsthat could keep your cartilage and bones stronger.
If none of these treatments allow you torecover some of your knee function, than a knee replacement may be thetreatment of choice. With a conservative treatment approach, many patients canavoid the need for surgery for several years after the onset of injury,arthritis or other condition. Always talk to your orthopaedic surgeon beforestarting any treatment plan.