Knocking out knee pain blues

Aman Khanna (8) and Angad Khanna (4) are kids full of energy and enthusiasm. With summer vacations round the corner, their parents have planned a Manali trip this year and their grandma is also accompanying them. The family is looking forward to activities to rejuvenate themselves.

But alas! Mrs Khanna’s knee pain attack starts bothering her just one month before the D-day. Shrugging it off as just another attack, Mrs Khanna pops up a pain killer and gets ready for her day to day chores. But then pain killers, though adequate relief providers, are temporary in their effect.

Many middle aged people are now prone to joint pain. But physical fitness is vital for them to manage households, children and career. Mrs Dutta (50) takes care of her grandson Aayush, with the help of a domestic maid while her son and  daughter-in-law are away at work. Mrs Dutta said, `My children are planning a vacation for me and my husband, so that we get some time off from the monotony of life. But I am scared to venture out on a trip as sometimes my knee pain aggravates and I become dependent on pain killers`.

Raising awareness of arthritis

Many more have their own woeful stories owing to osteoarthritis acting as a holiday spoiler. Experts recommend that it is better to take precautions such as avoiding excessive stress on the knees, climbing up on slopes and ramps, etc while on holiday. Patients are also advised to take up physiotherapy sessions before departing for their holiday. There are also alternative therapies such as `viscosupplementation` available which can again be undertaken before going ahead with a vacation.

Explaining the therapy Dr Raju Vaishya, Orthopaedic and Joint Replacement Surgeon, Apollo Hospitals said, `The process involves removing the diseased joint fluid and replacing it with a biological substance that mimics natural joint fluid. Commonly administered as a three- or five-injection regimen, with recent advances, viscosupplementation is now available as a one-shot option. With a single injection in the knee joint, patients can avoid the stress related to repeated injections & experience reduced pain for more than six months with minimal side effects.`

Osteoarthritis of the knee is one of the five leading causes of disability among elderly men and women. It affects millions of Indians and is more commonly seen in women and people who are obese or those with previous knee injuries.

Dr Rajesh Malhotra, Professor of Orthopaedics at AIIMS explains the phenomenon, `Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in which the knee cartilage protecting the ends of the bones gradually deteriorates.

Relieving Knee Pain

Thereafter, the joint fluid – called synovial fluid – loses its shock-absorbing qualities. Bones may then begin to rub against each other, causing pain, stiffness and loss of movement in the joint.`

It is better to consult a doctor for the best possible treatment options, since the side effects of various medications will not be known to patients.

Besides the above treatments, staying dry, ensuring adequate sunlight, exercising moderately five times a week – a 30-minute-walk is ideal – and consuming the right diet can all work wonders for your health.

Just three weeks to go before the trip, Mrs Khanna is now all geared up and so are the other members of the family. Finally, Grandma is looking resplendent in her new dress, adding to her charms are her heels which she is able to wear after four long years. Mrs Dutta is also finally all set to explore new destinations in her twilight years, with her husband. Mrs Khanna and Mrs Dutta both opted for `viscosupplementation` to alleviate the blues of knee pain from their lives. This promising gift of modern medicine surely opens the gateway to happiness and relief for people suffering from osteoarthritis.

Courtesy: Amrita Thukral
Image: Flickr creativecommons Anniegreensprings