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The human body is able to move fluidly because there are various joints, muscles, tendons and cartilages that work together to make this happen. Movements of the hands, legs, back, hips, knees and wrists are controlled this way. For various reasons, however, these tissues grow stiff, thereby, reducing free movement. Any movement causes pain and stiffness and swelling of the joints, which forces the patient to reduce physical activity. This reduced activity further leads to the joints becoming stiff, thus putting the patient in a difficult position.
What causes it?
The ends of the bone are covered by softer tissue called cartilage, which is responsible for allowing the free movement. In patients with osteoarthritis, this cartilage is lost and the bones rub against each other, producing pain and a crackling sound with the movement. Some of the most common causes include the following:
- Age is the most common cause for osteoarthritis, with lifestyle habits playing a major role in this condition. Most joints would be affected here.
- Obesity is another major cause for osteoarthritis, as the additional weight of the person puts extra pressure on the knees and the legs, leading to the wearing of the joints. The back and lower extremities are more affected than the hands in this case.
- Joint injuries are another common cause for osteoarthritis, which is more localised to the area of injury.
What are the signs and symptoms?
As noted already, painful movement is the most common symptom of osteoarthritis. There could also be swelling and redness around the affected joint(s).
Diagnosis: The doctor will usually be able to identify osteoarthritis after an examination, but in some cases, an X-ray or MRI may be required to confirm the diagnosis.
The treatment for osteoarthritis is multipronged.
- For immediate relief of the pain, non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs are used. In cases of localised symptoms, even topical creams or gels may be used.
- Weight loss is extremely essential, if there is obesity that is causing the osteoarthritis.
- Vitamins and supplements in good amounts can improve bone health and help in preventing and reversing the damage in some patients.
- Heat therapy has proven to be quite useful in many cases to provide temporary relief
- As much as the movement of the joints is painful for the patient, it is only with regular exercise that the joints can be made more flexible and mobile.
- The affected joints need to be specially cared for by avoiding injury and reducing unnecessary movements.
- Role of physiotherapy in the management of OA - Strengthening exercises, Taping, Manual therapy, Education/lifestyle changes, Modalities, Agility and perturbation training.
- The definitive therapy of OA is joint replacement (total/partial knee/hip joint replacement).
In addition, support groups and counselling may also help significantly in patients who find their quality of life being reduced due to this condition. Remember, not all is lost with osteoarthritis. It is definitely possible to get your life back to its earlier days when you were able to move about freely.
I am suffering from insomnia about 20 years sir. Please advice me how to solve this problem and give proper advice to me sir.
I am 39 yes old, I am suffering from uric acid & thyroid. I have too much pain in my knees. Please Advise me what should I do.
Hi, i'm having snapping hip, knee, scapula syndrome, specifically in all the three major joints. Please recommend me any proper diet/ precaution to make back in my healthy life? *can I do indian push ups while having a snapping scapula syndrome*?
I'm a 75 year old male. I have osteoarthritis in my both knees. Some doctor suggest to go for knee replacement. Some suggest to have injection to delay the operation. How effective injection is and what injection you suggest. Please advise.
I am 22 years old. My mom is 45 years old. She is having knee pains from past some months. We have tried many ointments and all but nothing responding good to her. Sometimes while walking also all off a sudden the pain appears. Kindly help.
Hi, I am 35 years old. I have back and knee pain. I tried different type of ointments and pain killers. But there was no effect. I have also itching problem. Please advise.
Dear doctor I'm male 29 year old. II have slight knock knees wen I walk I'll go out of balance. So is slight knock knees have a remedy? And also I heard about leg braces and other exercises to fix this prob. Please help me.
Knee replacement surgery — also known as knee arthroplasty (ARTH-row-plas-tee) — can help relieve pain and restore function in severely diseased knee joints. During knee replacement, a surgeon cuts away damaged bone and cartilage from your thighbone, shinbone and kneecap and replaces it with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics and polymers.
Why is it done?
The most common reason for knee replacement surgery is to relieve severe pain caused by osteoarthritis. People who need knee replacement surgery usually have problems walking, climbing stairs, and getting in and out of chairs. Some also have moderate or severe knee pain at rest.
The procedure begins with you being administered general anesthesia, after which, an incision of 9-12 inches is made on the knee. The part of the joint that has been damaged is gotten rid of, following which the surfaces of the bone are redesigned to hold an artificial joint. Cement is used to attach the artificial joint to the shin, knee cap and the thigh bone. Once the fitting is complete, the artificial joint is supported by the surrounding muscles.
For most people, knee replacement provides pain relief, improved mobility and a better quality of life. Consult a doctor about what you can expect from knee replacement surgery.
Three to six weeks after surgery, you generally can resume most daily activities, such as shopping and light housekeeping. Driving is also possible at around three weeks if you can bend your knee far enough to sit in a car and if you have enough muscle control to operate the brakes and accelerator.
After you've recovered, you can enjoy a variety of low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, golfing or biking. But you should avoid higher impact activities — such as jogging, skiing, tennis and sports that involve contact or jumping. Talk to your doctor about your limitations.
The duration of the hospital stay is around 2-3 days. The effects of the surgery start becoming noticeable within a month of the surgery being carried out. Initially, you may require walking aids. It takes about 5-6 weeks to regain your ability to walk without any external or physical support.
You will have to undergo physical therapy after the surgery to improve your muscle strength. The physiotherapist may prescribe various exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knees. You need to follow certain precautions after the surgery; squatting and kneeling become certain activities which you should avoid. Avoid activities that places undue stress on the knees.
For 57 F under treatment of stage-2 Osteoarthritis for knee joints, how effective is Uniflexin tablets ? Or, is it better to use collagen peptide supplements ?
There are over 200 types of arthritis that are known to medical science. While some are easy to manage, some can be deadly if proper care is not taken on time. The common factor of any arthritis, however, is the physical pain in the joints and muscles.
How Does Physiotherapy Help?
It is known that some forms of exercise go a long way in managing the symptoms of arthritis. Physiotherapy focuses on the right form of exercise that helps in relieving pain. Furthermore, they help to improve the movement of the joint, the walking posture and muscle strengthening. Based on the condition and severity of the pain, a physiotherapist might recommend free hand exercise or workout sessions in a swimming pool.
What is the Role of a Physiotherapist?
Apart from helping in managing pain, a physiotherapist’s job includes the following:
To improve the flexibility, balance and coordination of the body in order to achieve the maximum physical function.
Recommend appropriate exercise to fix improper posture that may be causing the pain.
Assist in using devices such as canes and walkers.
Recommend various other treatment options such as thermal therapy, shoe inserts, braces and splints in order to relieve the pain.
Recommend changes in the environment such as using of cushion, ergonomic chairs etc.
A physiotherapist recommends various exercises in order to relieve the pain. They start with graded exercises. These start slowly and quantify in an incremental manner. Graded exercises help to strengthen the bone and increase the fitness of an arthritis patient. It also helps the body secrete a hormone known as endorphins which help to manage the pain.
Strengthening and Stretching:
Stretching and strengthening are basic starters that a physiotherapist recommends. After assessing the strength of the muscle, a physiotherapist advises on the techniques and of various stretching and strengthening exercises. Stretching helps to relax the muscle and free up any cramps in the body. Strengthening, on the other hand, helps the bone to become more flexible and reduces the pain.
Avoiding Arthritis Pain:
It is important to be active. Keeping the muscles strong and moving the muscles is a key to get relief from the pain.
Maintain a healthy diet in order to ensure the right BMI for your body. Being overweight or obese can exert added pressure on the bone resulting in arthritis pain.
Maintain good body posture, especially walking and sitting posture. Good posture helps in ensuring normal breathing and proper digestion.
Regularly practice the exercises recommended by the physiotherapist.
- Using of cooling packs and thermal treatment on the joints often helps to relieve the pain.