New Delhi: With rising life expectancy, increasingly sedentary lifestyles and surge in incidence of obesity, India is also witnessing a resultant rise in orthopedic problems as a natural corollary.
Despite joint pain being highly debilitating, a large number of people continue to live with it and fail to seek timely medical help.
With an aim to raise awareness about orthopedic conditions and joint pain, Venkateshwar Hospital, New Delhi, organized a special health camp on February 19, where people were encouraged to seek timely treatment and adopt preventive mechanisms. Doctors provided comprehensive advice to visiting patients including prevention, management and surgical treatment, if needed.
Knee pain is the most common form of joint pain experienced by people, followed by shoulder and hip pain. However, joint pain can affect any part of your body, from your ankles and feet to your shoulders and hands. There can be several causes of joint pain including age-related osteoarthritis, auto-immune rheumatoid arthritis or injury to the ligaments, bursae (lining between the bone and soft tissue), or tendons surrounding the joint.
Dr R. K. Pandey, Senior Consultant, Orthopedics, Venkateshwar Hospital, said, "As Indians we are genetically more predisposed to orthopedic problems such as osteoarthritis. At the same time, lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyles are making our bones softer and more prone to deformities causing awkward loading of joints. The other risks of developing osteoarthritis (wearing out of joints) include ageing, obesity, family history of osteoarthritis, misaligned bones & having any other type of arthritis."
"Our Indian lifestyle, especially ground sitting habits, and use of Indian toilet further exacerbate any existing knee pain. As of today there is no reliable way to regenerate the lining cartilage of the knee. Therefore, prevention strategies have to adequately underlined while also raising awareness about the availability of joint replacement as a viable option," he added.
People who have appropriate body weight and those who are active with flexible joints and strong bones have the best chance of avoiding joint pains. The ageing process cannot be stopped but it can definitely be slowed. And the answer is by maintaining a good level of muscle strength so that they can match up with your activity level.
Orthopedic patients suffer from two consequences - pain in the joints and reduced mobility and restricted movement. This makes it difficult for them to perform their daily normal tasks including walking, working in the kitchen, performing the other household chores.
"People with joint pain need to follow a strict daily routine to keep their condition under control and minimize pain and discomfort. This routine includes a religious devotion to daily exercise, use of physiotherapy and heat therapy to keep the joints mobile and check inflammation as well as using supporting devices such as knee braces and orthotic shoes to ensure comfort. At the same time, it is important to understand that unhealthy habits like smoking and drinking tend to have a further negative effect on arthritic conditions. Most important is to check weight gain as excessive body weight puts greater pressure on the knees and the feet and accelerates damage," says Dr P. S. Gill, Senior Consultant, Orthopedics, Venkateshwar Hospital.
If you have been experiencing long term joint pain, lasting more than few days, visiting an orthopedist in time will prove to be beneficial. Depending on your condition, your doctor will make a treatment plan, which will include medications, exercise, physical therapy and a few steps in lifestyle modification. In some cases he may recommend either keyhole surgery or even joint replacement.
The clinic adopted a comprehensive approach to help patients dealing with joint pain with investigations such as BMD and BMI conducted for the visitors to gauge the potential cause of their condition.