I'm Dr Sanjay Kapoor. Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon. Today I will talk to you about a very common condition which is known as knee arthritis. Now, what is knee arthritis? Knee arthritis is a condition in which there is a degeneration of the knee joint and what happens is with the overuse, with increased body weight, with lack of exercise, with aging, sometimes genetic, sometimes deformity, sometimes because of trauma, the joint is weakened. The space between the knee joint, the middle space, the lateral space and the space in the front that is decreased, it could be due to this degeneration of the meniscus, medial, lateral, sometimes due to the erosion of the cartilage inside the knee joint both medial and lateral as well below the patella bone because of this degeneration the patient comes and complains of pain around the knee joint or in the knee joint, difficulty in climbing stairs, difficulty in getting up from the bed, difficulty in walking so basically day-to-day activity of the patient is restricted.
This condition is increased these days even in the young population mainly because of lack of exercise because of weight gain and because of faulty lifestyles. In the aging population, it is expected because of the degeneration of the joint inside, but the area which I want to stress is that what can be done to decrease the chances of this condition in the young population.
So in the young population, the message would be we should avoid certain activities like climbing off stairs, sitting cross-legged and doing the regular exercises of the knee as well as all the joints of the body, a brisk walk is very important. The lifestyle changes which is required in such patients and when the patients especially the young patient if he develops the pain around or in the knee joint he should immediately come to the doctor and report the condition so that the proper diagnosis can be done and the staging of the disease can be done, because in mild to moderate kind of arthritis when the meniscus is preserved and cartilage is preserved or there are early changes in the cartilage or meniscus that can be reversed with medications hence exercises will strengthen the muscles around the joint and the joint can be saved.
Now, once the disease has reached the stage of severe arthritis then there is not much role of any kind of medication, in those patients which are usually elderly age group we can do certain surgical procedures. Suppose even only the medial side of the joint is involved then there is partial knee replacement surgery can be done in which the other compartments of the knee can be saved and the middle joint is replaced, but once all the other compartments of the knee are involved then the option will be of total joint replacement in which the whole of the knee joint is replaced and this surgery usually lasts for about 45 minutes to 1 hour and patient is mobilized in the second or third day and with exercises which are done after the surgery, it usually takes one to one and a half months for the patient to start walking at his regular pace and start doing his day-to-day activities.
The clear-cut message for knee arthritis would be that if the disease is diagnosed early and regular exercises and lifestyle modifications, control of weight these all things are done then these surgeries could be avoided and knee can be preserved for a longer period of time.