Do you hear a sudden click in your knee while bending down? Do your knees hurt while squatting? Well, your knees are trying to convey their ageing story. It may not be wise to ignore the click sound, minor pain or swelling once you have crossed your 50's.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is common among ageing population and one of the leading causes of disability. It is the second most common problem & the most frequent joint disease with a prevalence of 22% to 39% in India.
In Knee OA, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away and it becomes frayed & rough and the space between the bones decreases. Arthritic knee usually begins with symptoms of joint click, pain and swelling that worsen in the morning. Knee arthritis can make it hard to do many activities such as walking and climbing stairs.
If unattended; the joint may become stiff & swollen, making it difficult to bend & straighten the knee. The knee may “lock” during the movement. It may creak, click, snap or make a grinding noise (crepitus). The pain can cause a feeling of weakness or buckling in the knee. Weather changes usually aggravate the symptoms - You may notice increased knee pain during rainy & cold weather.
Since OA is a degenerative condition; the damage occurred cannot be reversed. But timely intervention in the form of regular exercise and early Physiotherapy can arrest degeneration & maintain joint integrity.
Easy ways to manage OA knee :
Manage your Weight
Keep a check on your Calcium & Vitamin D levels
Avoid offending movements like squatting
Do not delay : Address the signs of pain in time
Specific knee exercises
We have some very easy and convenient tips to manage arthritis pain on our website. Read Here
Whether you are walking, running, cycling or exercising; you are likely to be using your knees a lot. While the common sense says that the more you use the joint the more mobile or lubricated it will remain. The better sense says that it will all be worthwhile only if you know how NOT to ruin them instead.
The knee joint is particularly vulnerable to damage and pain because it takes the full weight of your body and any extra force when you run or jump. You’re more likely to experience knee pain as you get older, and people who are overweight or do lots of sports have a higher risk of damaging their knees. And it’s not just athletes who suffer. Knee problems can happen to anyone.
“It’s difficult to strike the correct balance between mobility and stability. The knee needs to move back and forth, twist a little, and pivot too. The knee’s ligaments can tear, its tendons can swell up, one may get osteoarthritis, and even everyday wear and tear can ruin a perfectly good set of knees,” says Dr Shreya Sahasrabudhe, the Musculoskeletal specialist at ReLiva.
Ask yourself the following five questions and find out if you’re being nice to your knees.
How much weight are you carrying?
If you’ve ever loaded your car’s trunk with heavy objects or driven with four adult passengers, you may have noticed that the ride wasn’t as smooth. Your car’s shock absorbers probably didn’t soak up the jolts from the bumps and the potholes as well as they would have with a lighter load. Similarly, if you’re carrying too much weight on your body, your knees may also be in for a rough ride.
Every kg of excess weight exerts about 4 kg of extra pressure on the knees. So a person who is 10 kg overweight has 40 kg of extra pressure on his knees; if a person is 100kg overweight, that is 400kg of extra pressure on his knees. So if you think about all the steps you take in a day, you can see why it would lead to premature damage in weight-bearing joints.
Are you exercising?
In case your knee hurts, whether due to an injury or due to a chronic condition like Arthritis – Exercising the knee may seem counterintuitive, but regular exercise can actually lessen — and even relieve — arthritis pain and other symptoms, such as stiffness and swelling.
There are several reasons to exercise with knee arthritis. For example:
Exercise maintains the joint’s full range of motion.
Exercise strengthens the muscles that support the joint.
Strong muscles help the joint absorb shock.
“If all the benefits of exercise could be put into a single pill, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world,” says Dr. Neelam Patel, a Physical therapist specializing in sports injury.
Are you overusing some muscles and joints?
The quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh) and the hamstring muscles (back of the thigh), which straighten and bend the knee respectively, are susceptible to strain (“pulled muscles”).
If your work requires you to frequently sit low or climb up and down stairs or stand, you are more prone to overuse. Initially your may feel fatigued. If this fatigue is not resolved prior to your return to work the next day, or shortly thereafter, microtrauma may occur. Microtrauma is when small soft tissue tearing occurs from overuse. Eventually your muscles and tissues become more traumatized, resulting in pain and loss of use.
Is your body properly aligned?
Anyone who’s ever driven and maintained a vehicle is likely to have dealt with an alignment problem. The effects of a minor collision may create a misalignment that’s not immediately obvious. Our bodies are very much like these vehicles, and we may not realize that our own alignment is off until an ankle sprain leads to knee trouble or certain random ache develops into a chronic pain. When we lose proper alignment, we see knee joints begin to break down or wear out. This is due to uneven weight distribution.
Are you wearing the right shoes?
Shoes with very high heels or those that lack the arch and heel support that your feet require, can place added pressure on your knees and throw them out of alignment. This, in turn, can cause pain under and around your knee. Wearing the right shoes when you exercise, go to work and for other daily activities, will help prevent knee discomfort.
Be Good to Your Knees Now
Arthritis of the knee is common, but it is not necessarily a compulsory consequence of aging. Taking care of your knees now will cost you a lot less time and effort than rehabilitating them down the road.
REMEMBER: When in doubt, rest and have your pain checked out. It’s better to spend a little time and money seeing a qualified physiotherapist than to be sidelined for months by an injury that you could have prevented or minimized.
Contributed by Dr Manali Jain (PT), consultant Physiotherapist at ReLiva Physiotherapy & Rehab. She has an avid interest in knee and knee conditions and looks forward to extend her knowledge to put to use for every common man.
The disorder commonly affecting the knee and other joints is called as Arthritis.
We commonly see our mothers or grandmothers groaning in pain when they try to do simple activities like getting up from the floor or climbing steps. Daily simple chores seem very difficult for them. They dread even the pleasant rains and winters as they are likely to experience increase in their aches and pains with the fall in temperature.
Arthritis is an inflammation of one or more joints. It is common in adults 65 and older, but it can affect people of all ages. There are many types of arthritis but most common types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis : It is an autoimmune disease in which the body immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule, a tough membrane that encloses the joint parts known as synovial membrane. It is characterized by fluctuating course, with periods of flares and remission.
2. Osteoarthritis : It is a chronic degenerative disorder involves wear and tear damage to the joint’s cartilage. Enough damage results in bone grinding which causes pain and restricted movement and joint effusion.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The most common symptoms of Arthritis include pain, redness in the area, swelling, limited movement & stiffness in the joint.
Unpaid attention to these symptoms can lead you to be under the surgeon’s knife. But timely attention to the soft ringing of bells of your joints can help you deal effectively with your joint pain.
Physiotherapy is key to the treatment and management of arthritis. It can help you to maintain independence through improving your mobility, strength and flexibility.
Used along with medication it can also help to minimise pain.
Physiotherapy for arthritis focuses on the reduction of pain and stiffness as well as increasing the level of movement and range of motion for the individual.
Our experts at ReLivaTM use a combination of modalities, manual therapy techniques and exercise and movement programmes to suit your specific condition. They will aim to reduce the swelling in the affected area along with making a strategy to control pain and stiffness. They will also devise simple exercise programmes that you can practise at home to help you build your strength and flexibility.
Physiotherapy uses a mix of Modalities
Heat treatments : These treatments produce heat within your body tissues. The application can be directed towards superficial or deeper parts of the body. The most common types of treatment used are infra-red radiation (heat lamps) and hot packs for superficial treatments.
Electrotherapy : These treatments produce electrical stimulation of your body tissues. They may be extremely useful in the treatment of both acute and chronic arthritis, where pain, swelling and muscle spasms are present.
Exercise : A balanced programme of rest and exercise, and careful attention to joint posture is an important part of pain management, joint protection and maintenance of your joint function.
Manual therapy: Mobilisation and manipulation techniques are passive movements applied to a joint or soft tissue by the therapist in a specific manner to help restore full movement to a joint that is painful and restricted. Manual therapy is often useful in the chronic forms of arthritis and is often successful when other methods such as heat therapy and exercises have given little or no relief.
TENS : Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy is a commonly used electrostimulation method for relieving pain in rheumatoid arthritis.
Simple Tips to help avoid pain and stiffness:
Avoid staying in one position for long.
Avoid positions or movements that place extra stress on sore joints.
Avoid sitting on floor.
Modify your activities to make them easier.
Take proper rest when your symptoms are on a rise.
Try to lose weight if over-weight, as it reduces pressure on joints and alleviates pain.