Expert TalkExpert Talk: An Ortho Doc Wants You To Follow These 8 Tips...

Expert Talk: An Ortho Doc Wants You To Follow These 8 Tips To Keep Your Knees Healthy As You Age

The knee joint, which is a complex type of synovial joint, has three compartments known as—Medial, Lateral, and Patella Femoral. Knee pain is a common problem, especially among the elderly population. Over the years, a person’s knees endure a lot of wear and tear as the leg functions against gravity to move. This wear and tear causes various knee-related diseases like Osteoarthritis (OA). OA is a degenerative joint disease in which the joints degrade of joints, including the Articular Cartilage and Subchondral Bone. 

Osteoarthritis More Common In Women Than Men

OA tends to increase post-50 years of age, especially in women. According to a number of published reports, anywhere from 6% to over 13% of men and 7% to 19% of women over 45 years of age are affected. Thus, resulting in a 45% less risk of incidence in men.

Other risk factors include:

  1. Obesity
  2. Genetics & family history
  3. Joint instability
  4. Hypermobility sports stress
  5. Injury to the joint
  6. History of immobilisation
  7. Peripheral neuropathy
  8. Repetitive knee bending or heavy weightlifting
  9. Torn meniscal pathology
  10. Lower extremity misalignment
  11. Quadriceps weakness
  12. Bone marrow lesion shown by MRI

8 Lifestyle Habits You Should Start Young To Help Your Knees Age Better:

1. Strengthen Your Upper And Lower Leg Muscles

Exercises help maintain joint and bone health. A combination of strengthening and aerobic exercises is usually indicated to address the spectrum of disability associated with OA.

2. Maintain A Recommended Weight

Loss of at least 10 per cent of body weight through a combination of diet and exercises has been associated with a 50 per cent reduction in pain in overweight/ obese patients suffering from OA. Weight loss should also be recommended for patients with hip OA and may be beneficial for patients with OA in the hands, in view of its increased risk in patients with higher Body Mass Index (BMI). 

3. Improve Your Posture

Poor posture can cause joint pain as a good posture is critical to the alignment of the joints— shoulders, hips, and knees. While sitting, maintain a neutral spine and change positions frequently to avoid knee and posture problems.

4. Choose Low-Impact Exercises

This will help protect the cartilage in your knees. Activities like swimming or cycling can help maintain knee cartilage and avoid damage.

5. Quit Smoking

Smoking causes inflammation in the body. People who smoke have more knee pain and cartilage loss.

6. Be Cautious When Playing Sports

Especially while playing outdoor sports, especially football and basketball, that require one to abruptly start, stop or pivot.

7. Stay Active

Physical activity helps prevent muscle stiffness and atrophy. Exercising can protect the knees from injury however always ensure you’re wearing the right footwear and holding the right form while working out. You want to cushion the impact on your feet, ankles, knees and hips as much as possible.

8. Consult A Medical Provider

In case of a swollen knee, immediately consult an expert as it can indicate a damaged cartilage. This is important especially if you’re experiencing symptoms like:

  • Prolonged or repetitive pain and swelling in the knee
  • Tenderness in the knee
  • Instability in the knee, including locking or buckling
  • Sensations of cracking, popping or grinding, in the knee
  • Impacted range of motion
  • Noticeable deformities in the knee

If detected early, knee osteoarthritis can be treated conservatively.

This article has been authored by Dr Pramod Bhor, Head Of Department, Orthopedic Surgery, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Mumbai.

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