Doctor Blogs

TIPS TO REDUCE KNEE PAIN IN OLD AGE
by: Dr. Harish Ghoota
Director Orthopedics and Joint Replacement

Arthritis means inflammation of joints & surrounding tissue. There are more than 200 type of diseases that affect joints. The predominant disease is osteoarthritis. Other forms of arthritis include rheumatoid arthritis, gout etc. The more severe forms of arthritis like inflammatory arthritis can affect in younger age group also.

Tips on osteoarthritis:

  • It is disabling and impair a person’s day to day life style
  • Physical activity has a positive effect on arthritis. It improves pain, stiffness, function and mental health.
  • Arthritis is developed because of growing age & weight, injury, infections, derangement in metabolism
  • Treatment is to control pain, stiffness, minimize joint damage and improvement of quality of life. It constitutes of medicines, physiotherapy and patient education.

Risk factors are growing age, gender (females have more chances of developing osteoarthritis), overweight, Joint injuries, infection and occupations requiring repetitive knee bending or squatting.

What is osteoarthritis of knee?

Degenerative or mechanical arthritis affects the smooth polish over the ends of bones i.e. cartilage. This damage is usually more on the weight bearing surfaces. The main job of this smooth polished cartilage is to provide a friction less surface for joint gliding and movement. It is also a shock absorber when we jump over the knee. When this cartilage is damaged the surface becomes rough producing pain. To compensate this damage the body tries to heal but the result is abnormal bony protuberances called osteophytes which further damage joint function.

Treatment of knee osteoarthritis:

  • Physical therapy, medicines, maintaining ideal body weight, light exercises are the important part of therapy in early stages of disease.
  • Surgical treatment is required when the cartilage is totally worn out. It consists of arthroscopic surgery, realignment of leg axis, and replacement of cartilage by metallic surface i.e. joint replacement, either total or partial.
  • Total knee replacement is there in the world for decades. In this surgery the surface is totally replaced thereby producing a hinge like knee motion. Patients who have severe deformity and worn out ligaments are benefitted by total knee replacement.
  • Partial knee replacement is a promising option where only the worn out surface of knee is replaced. All the four ligaments of knee and 75% of the normal surface is preserved. It produces more natural knee motion providing better satisfaction of patients. Patients are able to sit cross legged and even squat after this procedure. It is a minimally invasive surgery done by 3-4 inch of incision. The recovery time is much shorter than total knee replacement surgery. The recovery time is much shorter that total knee replacement surgery. It has no serious side effects and very short hospital stay. Some patients are even operated as a day care surgery.
  • Partial knee replacement is intensively studied in Oxford University England for the past 40 years. It is established that 20 year survival rate of oxford partial knee is 91% which is similar to Total knee replacement. Due to these encouraging results, it is having a life time warranty in USA.