Knees hurt? Time for some self-care

Knees hurt? Time for some self-care

While the onset of lifestyle diseases at an early age is a major concern, knee pain is also becoming a growing concern among young adults, warns Dr Jayateerth Kulkarni


In this fast-paced world, juggling between personal and professional life can be painstaking, leaving little to no room for self-care. While the onset of lifestyle diseases at an early age is a major concern, knee pain is also becoming a growing concern among young adults.

Knee pain is a common concern that affects people of all ages and is also the second-most common problems after lower back pain.

Carrying heavy loads has become a part and parcel of the average person’s work life. Lugging a heavy purse, backpack puts uneven pressure on the joints, especially the knee and hip area.

Our daily activities also contribute a lot in causing those pains in our body, like wrong body posture, wrong selection of footwear and incorrect workout postures.

Prevention is always better than cure. Here’s a list of mistakes to watch out for:

Ignoring fatigue: One of the biggest mistakes people make is ignoring the body’s signals of fatigue and pain, with the assumption that these signals are temporary blips on the body’s radar. These are essential indicators of the body’s well-being and should be paid attention to.

Skipping sleep: Another mistake which is rarely viewed as an ‘issue’ is skipping sleep. Sleep is one of the most essential components in protecting the joints as well as overall health and is required in adequate amounts. Exercise should not be done in a sleep-deprived state as this can further impact the smooth functioning of the body’s joints.

Some others avoid exercise altogether for the fear of hurting the joints. Exercise as such is a must for healthy joints as it helps maintain optimum body weight.

Obesity: Obesity is one of the most common reasons for joint discomfort and sedentary lifestyles often lead to rapid weight gain. People tend to overlook this as a minor factor and fail to recognise the degree of wear and tear caused to joints by the same.

Wearing high heels regularly: The use of high heels on a regular basis is uncomfortable and can cause excess muscle fatigue and pain. It also has adverse effects on ankle joints, spine alignment and in the long term can cause calf muscles to cramp and bulge.

Although a lot of these mistakes can be rectified through minor lifestyle alterations, in case of severe pain and discomfort, it is always advisable to take professional help. Generally, people above 35 years can undergo surgery in case medication and physical activity does not work.

Knee replacement surgery:

Knee replacement surgeries are most commonly performed, if the knee is afflicted with pain, stiffness, instability or loss of function that affects one’s daily activities. In such surgeries, the remaining hard cartilage or worn out ends of bones are replaced with plastic and metal parts/implants. The recovery period post-surgery is important and involves physiotherapy, exercises and certain precautions to avoid complications and prolong the longevity of the artificial joint.

It helps:

Provide complete and lasting relief to pain.

Improves quality of life.

Abolishes the need for painkillers.

Restores movement to the knee.

Enables activities of daily living without help.

Restores independence.

Enables outdoor activities like travelling, shopping and attending social functions.

Enables gainful employment.

Computer navigated knee replacement and robotic surgery:

The instruments and techniques employed in a joint replacement are very precise and allow a very accurate procedure to be performed. However certain landmarks like the centre of the ankle, especially the centre of the hip, cannot be determined precisely with these instruments. During minimally invasive surgery, even the landmarks in the surgical field are less visible.

Surgical navigation systems utilise an array of stereoscopic infra-red cameras, infra-red reflectors (tracking devices) which are placed on the bones and on specially calibrated instruments, and a computer. The computer generates a virtual 3-dimensional model of the bones.

The advantages are: improved accuracy, better surgeon feedback during the surgery and decreased blood loss. It is especially useful when there is a pre-existing deformity in the femur or tibia. Computer navigation allows the surgeon to perform a minimal invasive surgery.

The disadvantages are: increased cost, increase in surgical time and a small extra incision. 

(The author is consultant, orthopaedic surgery, Fortis Hospitals, Bengaluru)

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