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Updated: May 21, 2012 16:01 IST

That creaky knee can do a lot of damage

Afshan Yasmeen
Comment (12)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
The Hindu

Osteoarthritis or wear and tear of the joints can cause you pain every single step you take

Of the 300 patients who visit the Orthopaedics Department at the State-run Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Bangalore daily, nearly 30 per cent report knee pain.

Of late, orthopaedists in the city are seeing an increased number of patients, especially women over 40, for osteoarthritis. This is a condition in which inflammation results in pain in the joints. Also a fallout of “wear and tear”, osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside joints wears out. The most commonly affected are knee and hip joints, say doctors.

With more women than men vulnerable to the condition, doctors say female sex and older age are the common risk factors. Other factors include excess body mass, specific occupations, repetitive knee bending or lifting heavy weights and a strong family history.

Indian lifestyle

Sharan S. Patil, chairperson and chief orthopaedist of Sparsh Hospital, says overweight people bring more pressure on their joints. “Our Indian lifestyle of squatting on the floor, using Indian toilet, bending knees to the extreme level for prayers and other activities can cause knee pain. We have been seeing more than 800 patients on a single day at our rural camps in Karnataka.”

Explaining that osteoarthritis results from an imbalance between breakdown and repair of the tissues of the synovial joint organ, he says this occurs as a result of multiple risk factors including trauma and genetic predisposition.

“The body joints are special structures where two ends of the bones meet. There is a soft cartilage that covers and acts as a cushion inside the joints. This cartilage is lubricated by synovial fluid. Following continuous use, if this cartilage wears away, the bones underneath rub against each other, producing a lot of pain. The rubbing results in little bits of debris coming out of the joints and the pain is similar to what one experiences when there is a small stone in the shoe,” he explains.

Pain and painkillers

While problems of wear and tear of the knee joint start with pain and stiffness, patients gradually develop sleep disturbance and deformity of the legs. “Most resort to painkillers, which offer temporary relief. In the long run, these painkillers can cause gastritis and kidney problems,” says Dr. Patil.

S. Rajanna, senior specialist (orthopaedics) at Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital, says lifestyle changes such as reducing weight by dietary modification, exercise and activity modification can help in managing knee joint pain.

He says patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee should take up low-impact aerobic fitness exercises and quadriceps. “They should avoid exertion, jumping and jerky movements, using Indian toilet and walking on uneven surfaces.”

Knee replacement

Both doctors say total knee replacement is the final option for patients with knee osteoarthritis. However, this surgery is done for those patients whose daily activity is affected by the pain.

“The dreaded complication of joint replacement surgery is infection. Infection rates are low and results excellent if it is done in a good orthopaedic surgery unit. At least three knee replacements are done [at Bowring Hospital] every month,” Dr. Rajanna adds.

I fully agree with mr.sheshadri and mr. parmeswaran

from:  narasimhasarma
Posted on: May 23, 2012 at 14:18 IST

I have knee pain. I use Kottakal Ayurveda medicine - Valiya Narayana
Thilam. Twice in a day - morning after the bath and before sleeping in
the night. Sit atleast for 10 minutes in cross legged position, have
food once in a day by sitting on the floor, do yoga exercises suitable
for your age. I do Surya Namaskara every day. My pain is lessened and it
does not bother me much. If I do not follow either applying oil twice in
a day or don't do the excercise for few days, I get knee pain which
would be unbearable.

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: May 23, 2012 at 07:28 IST

Amusing to see both side of Indian physhe in this article. The reason stated by the doctor is one side of the coin, where, everything "Indian" is bad and the other is in the comments where everything bad is blamed on "Western Culture". Knee pain are caused by lack of flexibity and physcial excercises. And ofcourse, obese people are more prone to joint pains but it is also effects lean people who do not have good muscle strength.
/>There should be awareness about good eating habbits - Millets, indian local greens
and vegetables and non-oily-spicy food ( do not eqaute it to just brocoli and
spinach!) and ofcourse more inclusive public space for phycial acitivies - for both
women and men.

from:  Archana
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 22:08 IST

I do not agree with Dr.Patil that Indian life style is the reason for knee pain.In our younger days western style toilet seats were very rare. Most of us used Indian style toilets.Most of our elders prayed sitting on the floor cross legged and we had our food sitting on the floor.Our elders mostly used walking as the mode of transport.These show that Indian life style cannot be the cause for knee pain.Age factor and other factors may cause knee pain.Most of us forget that there are best cures for knee pain in Ayurveda and Sidha systems of medicene.Patients may try these cures.

from:  P.Parameswaran.Pillai
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 20:14 IST

This is a kind of health information we get from Indian public as well as from the professionals. A qulaified doctor is quoitng informatin about the cause for osteoarthritis without any valid reference.But some of his fact is scientific. Now the patients are arguing that he is not correct. Do you think the westerners are not getting Osteoarthritis. Anyone who lives longer will get this problem but the other factors will compound the issue.As someone suggested that glucosamine will do wonder is a myth promoted by the drug company that produce glucosamine and it is not evidence based.

from:  R.Manivarmane
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 14:29 IST

Doctors comments are surprising...may be modern doctors think modern way - may not be the best way - still admire the old way of life - using indian toilets, squatting and sitting on floor, hand mopping of floors, no dining tables, writing desks on floor, vajrasana type position during bathing..
in fact, when you see villagers in rural part, they do not look for a chair to sit - they just squat for hours e.g. self-made mobile chair. Though the old ways are good, but it is nearly impossible for the scientific modern people to follow it - simply one reason - this is Kali Yuga - we are bound to pursue things which are not good for us...unconsciously...

from:  Hariharan
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 11:51 IST

There are ways to regrow knee cartilage though it is a little bit difficult and time-consuming. And age or gender need not be an issue here -- read about 'Chrondomalacia Patella' on internet which affects many athletes. Research shows that 'glucosamine + MSM' or especially 'collagen peptides' when used daily for a minimum period of 3 months do give positive results for most patients -- unfortunately in our pathetic health care system we don't get to know this kind of information from every doctor that we visit.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 11:41 IST

I've not been using the indian toilet for almost 15 years now. I do not
squat on the floor, i hardly do. Yet, i have got knee pain for about a
year & half now. I do agree with Mr.Sheshadri, it is western life style
that brings problem to the knee.

from:  husain
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 10:41 IST

I am not able to believe the doctor Sharan S. Patil's reason for the
knee pain. (“Our Indian lifestyle of squatting on the floor, using
Indian toilet, bending knees to the extreme level for prayers and
other activities can cause knee pain.). I am a retired technician
from IAF and my age is 44. I am not overweight. I got the knee pain
this year, when I stopped doing activities (mentioned by Dr. Patil)
in the last 7 years. i do not sit on the floor, do not use Indian
toilet, do not bend knees to extreme level in the last and now I
have got the knee pain this year. Indian life style is good, it is
western life style brings problem to the knee. Indian style or
western style - over weight, poor body posture, lack exercise are
definite cause for knee pain.

from:  Seshadri
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 07:36 IST

Dont take stairs. It may or may not help your heart, but will certainly damage your knees.

from:  Dr.Keshav rao
Posted on: May 22, 2012 at 03:14 IST

I would like to differ from what is stated on the knee pain. I have undergone this knee pain trauma which disturbed my sleep for over a month. I did visit a good Doctor who just advised me to do cycling(static) at my residence itself. Unfortunately my cycle was not in good condition and hence I really could not carry on as advised by the Doc.
In the meantime I religiously started doing "SANDHYAVANDAM" 3 times a day. This was and is being done in sitting posture with the support of both the feet in most of the part of this prayer.
I am happy to say that my knee pain has vanished.
Sandhyavandanam is performed by Brahmins. But I am sure there good be similar yogic exercises which people should do with a positive mind. They will be relieved of many other matters concerning the health.

from:  B S Mani
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 19:01 IST

If the Indian practices like squatting , praying are the causes , then
why is it that only in the past few years the problem of arthritis is
there ? the practice has been there for hundreds of years. Can you back
your statement with scientific proof?

from:  hari
Posted on: May 21, 2012 at 12:21 IST
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