Beware of bone and joint injuries

Last Updated 22 October 2010, 18:38 IST
[object Object]

Do your knees hurt real bad? It could be early signs of arthritis. Arthritis is no longer a complaint of the elderly, and statistics say that there has been a rise in the number of arthritis cases among youngsters over the last three years.

We usually do not associate arthritis with children and young adults. Contrary to this belief, according to the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, 3,00,000 children and young adults have reportedly been diagnosed with arthritis. There could be thousands of unreported cases, those who have not been to a physician or healthcare provider. Age is not a factor for arthritis; it can affect young and old alike.

Arthritis often results from an injury to a joint or from an infection. In young adults, the symptoms are not obvious and are difficult to spot, which  may lead to a delayed diagnosis.  Parents may attribute the pain to “growing pains” or dismiss them altogether.

Arthritis is also associated with illness which causes pain and swelling in the joints. The individual is unable to do his/ her basic activities like walking, running, climbing and even sitting. It  restricts knee movement and makes walking a very painful experience.

There are 68 joints in the human body and all are susceptible to arthritis.

Arthritis can hinder the normal functions of the joints.

However, the disease, once diagnosed, can be controlled by prompt and continued treatment.

Arthritis strikes almost twice as many women than men, but rheumatic diseases can attack people of any age or race and gender. It  causes stiffness and joint pain during the day, swelling around joints, reduced activity level and slow movement.

The condition does not improve over time.

Rest and relaxation

Treatment for arthritis depends on the type of pain and symptoms associated with it. Lifestyle changes can also help, especially if you take an active role in managing your condition. Drugs can be prescribe to help better movement and control the pain and inflammation. However, strong medicines can alter the immune system. Then, there are various types of steroid injections used to reduce pain.

As far as rheumatic arthritis is concerned, it is very important for the patient to exercise regularly and follow a healthy diet.

Rest, relaxation, medication and proper care for joints are other forms of treatment.
There are other natural medicines too. However, if the condition is severe, it is better to go in for a joint replacement surgery. There are several forms of implants available for the treatment of arthritis. Various new implants have come into the market and they do not restrict the movement of the joint. Such implants are flexible and durable. They help the patient lead a normal life.

It is important to lose weight, or at least avoid gaining weight. Extra kilos are not easy on the joints in the body. Weight increases the burden on the joints and has a destructive metabolic effect. Those suffering from arthritis must exercise so that the muscle and joint stay active.

Doctors advise low impact biking and swimming, yoga, pilates and walking. Weightlifting, as long as it’s not stressful, is also recommended. When you walk, make sure you wear comfortable shoes.

Don’t strain that sprain

Minor sprains and bruises or injuries arising from overuse, if treated properly, will not cause  permanent damage. But some sports injuries, if neglected, could lead to arthritis later in life.

As is true in most cases, the best treatment is prevention of injury. There are a  different methods to prevent injuries. The first is proper conditioning. If the body is weak, the muscles do not protect the joints and the chances of injury are high. It is important for athletes to be properly conditioned for their sport, not only with stamina but also strength and flexibility.

Proper nutrition and hydration  are also important. Fresh fruits, vegetables and milk provide nourishment for the cartilage. Sportspersons should follow proper form and technique in their specific sport. Certain sports offer protective equipment, and such gear may be of help  in preventing injury.

(Published 22 October 2010, 10:04 IST)

Follow us on