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Protect Your Joints From Osteoarthritis

A few ways of reducing the risks of osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis can strike at any age. However, senior adults and the elderly are more at risk because of the long-term wear and tear of the protective cartilage in the bones of their joints.  When these bones rub against each other there is pain, swelling and inflammation.  One in two adults will develop symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee during their lives; one in four adults will develop symptoms of hip osteoarthritis by age 85; and one in 12 over the age of 60 will suffer hand osteoarthritis. Obesity, joint injuries, joint overuse, weak thigh muscles, and genes are the usual causes. 

 

What are the symptoms of osteoarthritis?

  • Tenderness and pain in the joints.

  • Stiffness upon waking up in the morning, which eases within an hour.

  • Crackling and grinding sounds when moving.

  • Swelling and redness of the joint.

 

What happens in severe osteoarthritis?

Cartilage loss leads to deformation of the joints, which causes instability, buckling and locking. Osteoarthritis in the hip, knee or spine, affects simple movements such as walking, standing, maintaining proper posture and balance and increases the risk of falling.  Osteoarthritis of the hands affects manual dexterity. 

 

Maintaining weight is an important step towards preventing osteoarthritis

The first line of defence against osteoarthritis is to watch your weight. Obesity increases the load on the hip and knee joints: Studies have shown that extensive excess weight increases the odds of osteoarthritis sevenfold, compared with normal or underweight individuals. Concurrent obesity and joint disease had a marked impact on several key aspects of wellbeing. 

 

Do you know:

 Every pound of weight lost results in a fourfold reduction in the load exerted on your knee each time you take a step.

 

Will strengthening the thigh muscles work?

Strengthening the thigh and hamstring muscles have resulted in a 25-47 percent reduction of osteoarthritis progression, according to the American Orthopedic Association. Further, a recent double-blind controlled study in Europe showed that five minutes on an exercise bike twice a day offers 10 times more pain relief in a year than popping a glucosamine pill.

 

What about glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate supplements?

Can taking glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, substances found naturally in joint cartilage, as dietary supplements, stop osteoarthritis? Although patient reports indicate they may relieve pain, the American Orthopedic Association (AOA) states there is no evidence to show that these supplements decrease or reverse the progression of arthritis. Furthermore, these compounds may cause side effects, and have negative interactions with other medication. AOA recommends consulting your doctor before taking dietary supplements.

 

Do you know: 

The US Food and Drug Administration does not test dietary supplements before they are sold to consumers.

 

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: fact or fiction?

The author’s own study of 160 knees over a six-month to one-year period showed significant pain reduction in all forms of osteoarthritis from 78.6 percent at six months. Early osteoarthritis marked a 90.9 percent reduction, moderate OA a 70.3 percent reduction, and late OA a 46.6 percent one-year pain reduction. International studies have shown similar results. Hence, PRP has shown good results for the early onset of arthritis, while in late OA the benefit was less pronounced.

 

Are there new methods of treating localized cartilage loss?

Osteochondral grafting, mosaic plasty, alone or together with selected osteotomies, are other newer methods used to treat localized cartilage loss. While partial knee replacement is a good option where just the affected area (inner or outer knee) can be resurfaced leaving the other less damaged native knee. However, the ultimate solution for late-stage osteoarthritis is total knee replacement. With modern techniques such as computer-aided navigation systems, knee replacement therapy offers a precision rate of up to one degree and is now the gold standard.

 

Where can these treatments be done? 

Right here in Sri Lanka! Give us a call on 0773 511 511 for more information.

 

 

Adapted from an article by Dr. Ashan Abeyewardene, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Healthy Life Clinic

 

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