I am sure, every day we see the elderly in our homes and neighbourhood, using a walking stick or knee pad or simply walking in pain, and mostly sitting and avoiding a lot of movement. All these are signs hinting towards knee and joint pains. The knee problems in the elderly are no new phenomena. It occurs for several reasons such as:
However, Osteoarthritis (OA) has emerged as the most common form of the arthritis, which causes the maximum amount of knee problems. The arthritis causes the inflammation and pain in one or more joints in the body. Osteoarthritis is also commonly known as degenerative joint disease. The Osteoarthritis one of the leading causes of disability in the elderly these days. To understand this degeneration process let's look at the structure of our joint, and see what damage is caused to it by the disease.
The cartilage, the smooth, rubbery connective tissue on the end of bones, the cushions joints helps them move smoothly and easily. A lifetime of the walking, exercising, and the moving takes a toll on your cartilage. The degeneration of the cartilage can cause the chronic inflammation in the joint. This inflammation can further break down the basic cartilage over time. The cartilage may wear away completely, if it is left to be untreated.
A membrane called the synovium produces a thick fluid that actually helps keep the cartilage healthy and makes joints run smoothly. The synovium can become the inflamed and thickened as Osteoarthritis progresses. The inflammation produces an extra fluid within the joint, resulting in swelling.
As the cartilage deteriorates, the adjacent bones may no longer have sufficient lubrication from the synovial fluid and cushioning from the cartilage. Once the bone surfaces come in direct contact, this results in the additional pain and inflammation to the surrounding tissues. As the bones continually scrape one another, they can become quite thicker and even begin growing osteophytes, or bone spurs. The joints most commonly affected by the Osteoarthritis are in the following body parts:
The older we get, the more common it is to experience the mild soreness or the aching when you stand, or climb stairs, or even exercise. The body does not recover as quickly as it did in the younger years.
Other cause for the soreness:
The cartilage naturally deteriorates. The smooth tissue that actually cushions the joints and helps them move more easily disappears with the age. In a sense, the body's natural shock absorbers are wearing out, which means that you begin feeling more of the physical toll your body is experiencing. In addition, we lose the muscle tone and bone strength with the older we get. That can makes physically demanding tasks more and more difficult and taxing on the body.
A common factor for developing the osteoarthritis is age: Most people with osteoarthritis are over the age of 55. Still, other factors that increase a person's chances for developing the disease. These factors include:
Excess weight. Being the obese or overweight puts additional stress on the joints, cartilage, and bones, especially those in the knees. It also means that you're less likely to be physically active.
Family history. The genetics may make a person more likely to develop the problem of Osteoarthritis. If you have family members with the Osteoarthritis disease, you may be at an increased risk of developing Osteoarthritis, too.
Gender. Before the age 45, men are more likely to develop the osteoarthritis. After 50, women are more likely to develop the Osteoarthritis than men. The difference becomes almost even around the age 80.
Occupation. Certain occupations, such as those in the construction, agriculture, the cleaning, and retail, increase a person's risk for developing the Osteoarthritis. Their bodies are used to more rigorously as part of their job, which means their joints are worked more and likely to age faster than people who have a desk job.
The younger, more active people can also develop the osteoarthritis. However, it's often the result of a trauma, such as a sport injury or even an accident. A history of the physical injuries or accidents can also increase a person's chance of later developing the osteoarthritis.
The Osteoarthritis does not have a cure. Instead, the goal of the treatment is to manage pain, then reduce the contributing causes that make the symptoms of the Osteoarthritis worse. The first step in treating the Osteoarthritis is to reduce pain. This is often initially done with a combination of the medicines, exercise, and the physical therapy.
Second, the doctors will help patients adopt a lifestyle changes that can prevent their individual Osteoarthritis symptoms. Incorporating the low-impact exercise and getting more amount of rest can often extend the life of the knees and joints without the resorting to more of the invasive treatments.
Lifestyle Changes and the Alternative Treatments for the Osteoarthritis: Having the osteoarthritis does not mean that you've reached the end of your physically active years. Instead, you will simply have to actually adjust the things you currently do to make them easier on your joints and the bones. These adjustments not only improve the function, but can also boost your quality of your life.
Exercise : Low-impact exercise can also help strengthen muscles and keep bones strong. Exercise also improves the joint mobility. Forgo heavy-impact exercises, such as the tennis and baseball, and begin doing more of the low-impact exercises. Activities such as playing golf, swimming, yoga, and cycling are all much easier on the joints, The hot/cold therapy. Apply the warm compresses or cold packs to joints when they are sore or painful. This can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Assistive devices. Using devices such as the knee caps, braces, splints, walking sticks and canes can help your body support weak joints.
Rest : Giving the painful, sore joints adequate rest can relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
Weight loss : Losing as little as about 5 pounds can help decrease the symptoms of the osteoarthritis, especially in the large joints, such as the hips and the knees.
The treatment for the osteoarthritis is often tailored to a person's lifestyle and the factors that trigger pain and the soreness. A wide range of treatment options are available. The options include:
Medication : Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as the aspirin, the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and the acetaminophen (Tylenol), are usually all that people with Osteoarthritis need to treat their pain. However, if the pain becomes worse or the OTC medicines are not effective, stronger pain medicines may be also required.
Injections : Corticosteroid and the hyaluronic acid injections can also help reduce pain in the affected joints. However, these injections are typically not used because they can cause the additional joint damage over time.
Surgery. Surgery is typically reserved for the people who have severe and debilitating Osteoarthritis.
Osteotomy : This bone-removal procedure can reduce the size of the bone spurs if they have started to interfere with the joint movement. Osteotomy is also a less-invasive option for the people who want to avoid the joint replacement surgery. If osteotomy is not an option or it does not quite work, your doctor may also recommend the bone fusion (arthrodesis) to treat the severely deteriorated joints. For the hip and the knee joints, the last resort is a total joint replacement which is also known as the arthroplasty.
Knee Supports and the Braces : Knee supports and braces, neoprene being the most popular material, are used following knee surgery, for sports running, and during knee rehabilitation and can help to provide stability and support following knee injuries such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture, torn knee cartilage.
Knee supports and the braces, neoprene being the most popular material, are used following the knee surgery, for sports also for activities such as running, and even during knee rehabilitation and can help to provide the much needed stability and support following the knee injuries such as the following :
The Arthritis knee braces such as the Aktive Hinged Knee Brace Neoprene can relieve the knee pain due to osteoarthritis by improving the biomechanics of the knee joint and taking the stress off the area of the joint that is affected by the arthritis. This can improve the knee function and delay the need for knee replacement surgery.
There are also a range of sports knee braces suitable for activities such as football (soccer), rugby, running, martial arts, basketball and netball. Sports knee braces are suitable for all the knee ligament injuries and meniscus tears. Both lightweight knee braces ensure support and the reassurance by providing external stability for the knee joint. These braces and knee caps have a polycentric hinge that reproduces the normal knee movement and provides extra support for the ACL during sports activities, especially during skiing. So, in that ways you never really have to say no to any of your favourite sport activities or adventure activities. There are also the Reaction Knee Brace which has been designed to combat the conditions relating to the anterior knee pain including the Osgood-Schlatter disease, Patella Tendonitis and the general Patellofemoral (PF) Syndrome tracking issues. So, if you want that extra help you must true the knee caps and braces.
Stretching is vital for any exercise regimen. This helps muscles to warm up and also cool down gradually. It even improves and maintains the flexibility, prevents the injury, and also reduces the muscle soreness and the stiffness. Stretching can also function as a time for the meditation and a time to appreciate how your body is actually feeling. Body and the muscle awareness are useful skills that assist in safe mobility and the physical activities. Activities like the yoga or the Pilates can provide both useful stretches and the strength training because they focus on isolating and developing different muscle groups. A number of the exercise programs focus on developing a strong which refers to the set of the muscles connecting the inner stomach to the lower back and also to the spine. This is because the core muscles provide the foundation for all the movement and the strength, having a strong core can actually help with all the movement, encourage a better posture and also reduce the all over muscle pain. Of course, there are some people whose physical abilities are quite limited by the medical conditions or the general frailty. These seniors have to go about the exercise more carefully than the others, but they do not have to dismiss it in the entirely. With proper instruction and the guidance, the elderly can learn activities and the exercises that improve mobility and also strength. Exercise is even more important for the frail individuals since they are the most prone to falling and the broken bones. Try the activities in a class setting with the proper supervision by a trained professional. Consider the swimming or other water exercises that are low-impact and which are less jarring to the body. Start looking for good places to for exercising programs that address to your special needs. Have a healthy diet, exercise regularly, if you can't do it for long, do it at least for 30 minutes, stretch your body, go for walks and as and when required take the external aids for a better living, such as a knee pad, or braces or even a walking stick. Try to avoid junk food as much as possible, eat a good balanced meal, and if cases of pain so persists, it's always advisable to show a specialist who could guide you better with your problem. Follow a healthy lifestyle and see the notable differences.
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