Ooty: Ligament and knee injuries are often not diagnosed and thus rehabilitation is not done, which leads to joint damage and conditions like osteo-arthritis in late 30s.
The phenomenon is common in athletes. Doctors stress on proper rehabilitation of minor joint and knee injuries as osteo-arthritis is becoming an increasing trend among youngsters in the city.
Mostly sports persons fall prey to knee, shoulder and ankle injuries due to repeated movement of twisting the knee and occasional sprinting for several hours a day. Youngsters often play even with injured, painful knees in the spirit of the game or high tolerance to pain or assuming it to be just another injury that will heal with time.
“It is only when knee and joint injury impacts the normal activities like running and walking in people with old injuries, do they consult a doctor. In chronic arthritis, mostly seen in people above 30-40 years of age, the condition becomes severe enough to affect one's mobility and quality of life, therefore replacing the damaged joint may be the most viable option. Longevity of the joint is preserved through knee replacement,” said Dr Prakash Selvam, consultant orthopedic surgeon, Apollo Hospital.
The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) plays an important role in stabilising the knee when it rotates. It connects the thigh bone to the shin bone, therefore any injury/tear to this ligament can lead to an abnormal knee, if not taken due care of, adds Dr Selvam.
Initially an ACL injury is treated by applying ice on the affected area, elevating the leg, pain medications and physiotherapy. However, if the ACL is torn, a ligament repair or reconstruction surgery is recommended to preserve the knee joint.
“A torn ACL can injure the cartilage, which cushions the bone surface of the knee, causing unstable knee accompanied by chronic pain, stiffness and swelling. A torn ligament cannot heal on its own, which can lead to osteo-arthritis,” said orthopedic surgeon Dr R Chidambaram.
“In chronic osteo-arthritis cases, where the initial course of treatment has failed to provide long-term pain relief to the patients and has severely affected their quality of life or even caused disability, total knee replacement (TKR) is advised. However, knee and joint injuries should not be regarded as minor and can eventually need total knee replacement if ignored at initial stage,” added Dr Chidambaram.