~ Inputs by Dr Pramod Bhor Joint Replacement Surgeon at Hiranandani Hospital Vashi- A Fortis Network Hospital~
It is a common perception that joint pain is related to age and is a problem of the older people only. However, here are the recent observations of experts telling a different tale, as they have been witnessing increase in young and middle age population, coming in with concerns.In the last few decades, there has been a rise in joint pain in younger patients. This rise is because of drasticchange in lifestyle, increase of contact sports, unsupervised exercises and dietary insufficiency. These cause increase in the number of ligament and meniscal injuries.
Joint degeneration occurs in young individuals through damage to Articular Cartilage, and is caused by repetitive impact and loading. This type of damage is more in younger age groups as they neglect the pain due the hectic work schedules and have a raised pain bearing threshold. This is the reason for increase in the number of joint replacementsamongst younger age groups.
The treatment of Osteoarthritis (OA) ranges from Analgesics (painkillers) to surgery. Important part of the treatment is Physiotherapy and dietary supplementation. It is of utmost importance totreat the primary cause of the pain. Surgery in the younger age group is most commonly Minimally Invasive (Arthroscopic in most cases) and allows the patient to go back to work immediately. If treated on time, this will decrease the ratio of absenteeism from work and reduce the number of joint replacement interventions required in the long run.
Besides the standard treatment protocol, two more things are important to make our joints healthy:
- Stay active: Regular exercise helps improve blood flow to the joints, maintains their mobility and decreases pain. Remember that the overuse of joints can be also a cause of OA, and therefore you need to do activities that are gentle on your joints. Ask a Physiotherapist for a customized fitness plan for your joints. Strengthening exercises aim to improve the strength and tone of the muscles that control the joints, and therefore will protect and keep the joint more stable.
- Eat right: Deficiencies in vitamin C, E, D have been linked to Osteoarthritis, in research studies. Supplements such as Glucosamine and Chondroitin had been shown to have positive effects to manage OA.