Osteoarthritis of the Knee by Dr Deepshikha Goel
Osteoarthritis is one of the most common challenges of old age.This disease is caused by the wear and tear of the articular cartilage within the joints.
The knee is the largest weight bearing joint in the body and therefore most commonly affected by osteoarthritis.
Signs and Symptoms :
Knees affected by osteoarthritis may be stiff, swollen and painful, making it hard to walk, climb, sit down in and get up out of chairs, and get into the bathtub. The disease often affects both knees and usually causes most problems after the sufferer reaches his or her late 50s. A previous injury or operation may cause osteoarthritis in only one knee. Sometimes there is no obvious cause. Pain is usually felt at the front and sides of the knee. This disease is more common in women than in men. Obesity is a major risk factor for this disease .
Treatment for osteoarthritis demands a combined modality approach to restore the patients his/her near normal life and to improve the quality of life.
• Medications : This involves the use of pain relieving drugs,calcium supplements and steroidal injections.
• Nutrition and Diet : As knee is a weight bearing joint,diet counseling is advised to reduce weight in obese patients.A fat free and calcium rich diet is advised according to the patients needs.
• Physiotherapy : Aim of physiotherapy is to reduce and relieve pain,joint stiffness, muscle tightness,strengthening of weak muscles and helps in improving mobility.Various treatment options are wax therapy,hotpacks,ice packs,short-wave diathermy and exercises.
• Surgery : Surgery is the option when no success is achieved from medications and Physiotherapy.Hemi-replacement Arthroplasty,Total-replacement Arthroplasty or Osteotomy may be advised.
If not treated osteoarthritis can lead to disability.It is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of the disease and consult a doctor at the earliest.