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Painful knees not an old-age problem any more: Bad lifestyle, wrong food choices to be blamed

Patients in the age group of 30-50 are in need of joint replacement surgeries.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 28, 2018, 11.41 AM IST
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KneePain
By Rashmi Ramesh

The average age of developing knee problems seems to have dropped in the past decade, and bad lifestyle combined with wrong food choices is to be blamed in most cases.


Severe knee pain and stiffness can adversely affect everyday activities such as walking, climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed or even just resting. If the pain does not improve with conventional treatments such as medications or physical therapy, your doctor may recommend a knee replacement surgery. Earlier a procedure that was more prevalent among people over 60 years old, it is now quickly becoming more common among the middle-aged as well.

“Knee replacement is the most common joint replacement surgery that is undertaken for patients who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis,” said Dr Rajesh Kumar Verma, director (orthopaedics, joint replacement and spine surgery) at Gurgaonbased Narayana Superspeciality Hospital.

NUMBERS UP
Dr Ravichandra Kelkar, consultant (orthopaedics), Columbia Asia hospital in Bengaluru, said that having practised joint replacement surgeries for the past decade in the city, he has seen an increase of at least 30-40% in the number of people undergoing the procedure compared to just a decade ago. “Earlier, I was operating on elderly patients in the age group of 60-90. Now, many of my patients in the age group of 30-50 are in need of joint replacement surgeries,” he said.

Dr Vivek Logani, HoD (joint replacement and sports injury), Gurgaonbased Paras Hospitals, said that as per a study by Ace Business and Market Research Group (ABMRG), most people over the age of 60 suffer from some kind of bone and joint disease, and many of them have an immediate need for joint replacement surgery. “The overall increase was steep, but it was even more pronounced in younger age groups. While the number of surgeries increased by 89% among those aged between 65 to 84, the number went up by 188% for those between 45 and 64 years of age,” he said.

KeyJoints


BAD LIFESTYLE THE CULPRIT
Mohamad Yusuf N Shaikh, founder of Ahmedabad-based Kudrati Ayurved Health Center, said that one of the main reasons for the slip in average age is the inadequate supply of crucial nutrients like calcium, magnesium and vitamin D to the body.

“Even if the supply is good, factors like ill-timed meals, sedentary lifestyle, excessive smoking and drinking alcohol, exhaustive work routines and irregular sleep cycles don’t let the synthesis of these nutrients,” he said.

According to Kelkar, “the reasons behind this are several: sedentary lifestyle, lack of proper nutrition, unhealthy food habits and busy schedules with no time or motivation to even perform simple exercises. All these habits lead to an unhealthy gain in weight, which can result in weak joints and muscles, and hence more wear and tear.”

However, Logani added that one of the factors causing the increase could be to the availability of trained orthopaedic surgeons and improved facilities in hospitals.

POST-PROCEDURE CONCERNS
If one is worried about issues such as not being able to sit on the floor, not having any natural sensation in the region and pain after the procedure, these are worries you don’t need to have anymore, said Kelkar. “Joint replacement in the recent years has advanced in terms of quality of implants available and precision of surgery done. Hence, these disadvantages that may have been common earlier are no longer a cause for concern. These days, patients with joint replacement can resume an active lifestyle with full range of knee bending, sit down cross-legged and experience normal feelings in the knee,” he said.

“Everyone has a misconception that it is difficult to bend the knee after the replacement, but it is not true. The fact is that your mobility depends mainly on the pre-operation range of motion, quality of the surgery and post-operative rehabilitation,” Logani said. “You may have some numbness on the outer edge of the scar to begin with, but this usually improves in about two years. You may experience certain sounds coming from knee replacement, which is normal.”

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS
According to Shaikh, janu basti — a panchakarma treatment — is a great alternative to knee replacements in ayurveda.

“The therapy involves application of medicated oils with herbal extracts on the knee’s surface. Similar to hot oil treatment, this therapy heals the pain and degeneration of the bone beneath, with its lubrication and warmth. It is a 30-45 minute process starting with the installation of special medicated dough on knees in a dam-shaped circumference with an opening in the middle. Then, the hot medicated oil is poured into the hollow space and retained for some time. This helps in proper lubrication of the joints and adequate rejuvenation of stiffening cells and fluids,” he said.

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