Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis is a condition in which the natural cushioning between joints i.e , cartilage , wears away leading to rubbing of the exposed bone ends against each other. This rubbing results in pain, swelling, crepitus, stiffness and decreased ability to move.
Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent form of arthritis and the leading cause of disability in India affecting ver 15 million Indians each year. About 20 years ago, osteoarthritis was known as a disease of the elderly affecting those above the age of 65 years but more and more younger people in the age group of 35 – 55 are now being diagnosed to have this condition.
What causes Knee Osteoarthritis?
The most common cause of osteoarthritis of the knee is age and everyone will eventually develop some degree of osteoarthritis. Other risk factors are increased body weight, female gender, occupation causing repetitive stress injuries and hereditary predisposition. Every pound of weight you gain adds 3 to 4 pounds of extra weight on your knees.
How is Osteoarthritis of the Knee treated?
The primary goals of treating osteoarthritis of the knee are to relieve the pain and return mobility. The treatment plan will typically include a combination of the following: Conservative and Surgical.
Conservative method includes exercises and life style modifications while surgerical methodology includes either osteotomy (unicompartmental cases) or knee replacement.
Weight loss, strengthening the muscles around the knee, pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs- remain the mainstay of conservative treatment. Injections of corticosteroids or hyaluronic acid into the knee have not been proven beneficial by any study and hence are not recommended by AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery).
EXERCISES IN OSTEOARTHRITIS
Exercises are crucial if one has arthritis. Our joints and muscles get nutrition through movement. Once you start to move around a little you will improve the lubrication and circulation around that joint. Right set of exercises can be a long lasting way to tackle joint pain.
Exercising the muscles around knee-Quadriceps (Front of thigh), Hamstrings (back of thigh), abductors, adductors, will keep knees stronger and less susceptible to injury.
- Chair knee extension: Sitting in a chair, rest your foot on another chair so the knee is slightly raised. Gently push the raised knee toward the floor using only leg muscles. Hold for 5 – 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
- Static quadriceps drill- Sit over chair and extend the knee unsupported and pull patella towards you. Also dorsiflex your ankle. Keep your limb in this extended position for 60 sec. Repeat this manoevuer 50 times per day. This is most effective in knee osteoarthritis.
- Hamstring stretch: Lie on your back with legs to be stretched straight with a strap around the bottom of foot. Using the strap for support elevate the leg until you feel a gentle stretch at back of knee and thigh. Hold for 30 seconds.
If you have osteoarthritis, exercises are the single most effective non drug treatment for you. For more info you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org