Helpful Remedies For Hurting Knees

May 16th, 2010 healthwiki

Pain in the knees is particularly a serious problem faced by the older people. Sometimes it becomes so severe that it incapacitates people in bed.

Age related wear and tear of the knee — known as Osteoarthritis (OA) is mainly responsible for this. Although common, many people are not aware of the solutions that are currently available. Proper medication, physiotherapy, lifestyle modification and sometimes surgery can help stop or lessen the pain.

In Bangladesh, approximately 10 million people are suffering from Osteoarthritis. Women suffer more — 2 out of 3 women over the age of 65 have osteoarthritis. More than half of all men over the age of 65 have osteoarthritis.

With the increasing longevity of life, the problem will multiply itself within a very short time. Osteo-arthritis occurs when the knee undergoes age-related wear and tear around its joint. Almost every one is affected by it to some extent, as they grow older.

Osteoarthritis can also occur in weight bearing joints mainly hips and ankles. This form of arthritis slowly and gradually breaks down the overlying bony ends which forms the joint.

With osteoarthritis, the smooth surface of bones becomes rough and pitted. In advanced stage it may wear away completely. Without the normal gliding surface the bones, eroded bones grind against one another causing pain, swelling, restricted knee motion, crispy sound inside the joint and sometimes bowing of the knees.

In addition to age related wear and tear, athletes, labourer and highly physically active persons often stress their knee joints that lead to prolong wear and tear, which places them at increase risk of developing arthritis.

Arthritis has been linked with joint injuries and damaging events like fractures and infections that can harm the internal tissues of the joints. Individuals who experience repeated knee injuries are much more likely to develop osteo-arthritis as they get older.

Lack of exercise can weaken the thigh muscles that support the knee joints, eventually making the under-used joint stiff, painful and dysfunctional. Lastly, heavy individuals are at increased risk of developing osteoarthritis, because their knees become strained by excessive weight. Research indicates that people who are overweight as young adults are likely to develop osteoarthritis of the knees as they age.

“When and how would I understand that I have osteoarthritis?” is a common question I face in my clinical practice. People start limping and the knee may become swollen with fluid. There may be a reduction in the range of motion of the affected knee — the knee bends less than normal and may lose the ability to completely straighten out. Finally, as the condition becomes worse, the pain persists all the time and may even keep you awake at night.

Repeated knee pain is the main symptom. It tends to be worse after activity. Knee stiffness occurs after rest, the joint feels stiff and it hurts to get going after sitting for any length of time. In time, the joint gets stiffer and you are unable to fully straighten or bend the joint. Knee swelling is also common especially after excessive activity. Knee bowing is seen if osteoarthritis is severe, your joint may become deformed what we call bowlegged.

Most people suffering from osteoarthritis can be treated by non-surgical means which include pain killer, physiotherapy, life style modification and injection in to the knees. Unfortunately if the medical measures are not successful in relieving pain, surgery may be considered. Among the surgical options, arthroscopic washout of the knees is relatively new method in Bangladesh used to relieve pain for sometimes.

When medical measures and arthroscopic washout fail; knees become progressively worsened both in pain and deformity, total knee joint replacement are the better option which is now being done in state-of-the-art hospitals under skilled care of experienced Knee Consultants.

Dr M Ali


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