Introduction to Knee Pain in Old Age
Joints and knee pain in old age are quite common to observe these days with tremendously active society functioning and everyday increasing workloads. Knee pain counts in critical musculoskeletal problems that have various specific causes, as well as treatments. If the pain becomes unbearable, one must need to visit a specialist orthopedic doctor immediately before it gets even worse. The team of Mewar Hospitals is here with some useful information to let you understand properly about this point.
How does a Knee Function?
The primary function of a knee joint is to bend, straighten, and bear almost 90% to 95% weight of an individual’s body, in coordination with the hips and ankles. There is more to a knee than what meets the eye. It’s not just a simple hinged joint, the knee joints rely on a number of key structures to perform the day-to-day actions like walking, twisting, rotating, as well as, supporting the entire body. It comprises of many complex structures including bones, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons.
Total Number of Bones Connected to a Knee Joint
The knee joint comprises of four bones to function properly:-
* The thigh or femur bone
* The lower leg or tibia bone
* The kneecap or patella
* The fibula and Ligaments
What Are Ligaments?
Ligaments are dense fibrous bands that connect bones to one another. Loosening of the ligament with time can lead to knee pain in old age.
Functions of Ligaments in a Knee Joint
The knee joint is incomplete without ligaments. It includes four key ligament structures that connect the femur to the tibia while supporting an individual’s body weight:
* The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) and Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) provides front and back movement, as well as rotational stability to the knee.
* The Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) provide medial and lateral stability to the knee.
What Are Tendons?
Tendons are similar to fibrous bands like ligaments. However, tendons basically connect muscles to bones just like ligaments connect to bones.
Functions of Tendons in a Knee Joint
* The quadriceps tendon connects to the quadriceps muscle, which lies on the front of the thigh, to the patella.
* The patellar tendon connects the patella to the tibia bone.
* The quadriceps and patellar tendons are sometimes called the extensor mechanism, and together with the quadriceps muscle, they facilitate the straightening of a leg.
What Is Cartilage?
Cartilaginous structures are technically called menisci (meniscus) which line the top of the tibia. They lie between the tibia and the 2 knuckles at the bottom of the femur (called the femoral condyles). Cartilage helps in providing cushioning and flexibility for the knee joint.
What Are Bursae?
Bursae (bursa) are fluid-filled sacs that also help in providing cushioning and movement stability to the knee.
Functions of Bursae In A Knee Joint
The knee contains 3 crucial sets of bursae:
* The Prepatellar Bursae that lies in front of the patella.
* The Pes Anserine Bursae, that is located on the inner side of the knee about 2 inches below the joint.
* The Infrapatellar Bursae; located underneath the patella.
Basic Treatment Options To Treat Knee Pain In Old Age
So now let’s move on to some basic treatments for treating knee pain in old age. With their help, you can achieve some relief.
* Most doctors recommend icing the knee 2 to 3 times a day for 20-30 minutes. Using an ice bag always is good to save yourself from future possibilities of knee pain in old age.
* Some research suggests exercising for around 2 to 3 hours every day, especially those exercises which strengthen the upper thighs. Exercising every day can delay the development of osteoarthritis (OA) and benefit the knee joints, as it’s one of the most common causes of knee pain.
* Physical activities like walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, tai chi, yoga, etc. enormously boost the health of cartilage tissue. Even when a person has osteoarthritis or not, while further strengthening the way the body supports the joints. Strengthening the leg muscles is especially beneficial for the knees.
Posture and Support
One can even take the following effective measures to minimize knee strain:
* Maintain a decent sitting posture, without slouching or leaning
* Avoid low chairs and couches that you “sink” into
* Avoid sitting for long periods without moving, as joints are prone to become stiff and painful without movement
* Sitting on a pillow to raise your seating level, if necessary
* Avoid footwear with broken arches and wear supportive shoes
Balanced Diet and Weight loss
* Individuals, who are obese or over-weight, are at a higher risk of knee pain in old age. Since carrying extra weight forces the joints to work more which leads to wear and tear of the knee joints.
* Excessive weight on your body increases inflammation throughout the entire body and thus knees are affected. So, shedding some weight might reduce long-term knee pain, including pain caused by arthritis.
* Many osteoarthritis experts recommend people with a healthy diet plan. For example, fruits, vegetables, and fiber or low in meat, animal fat, and other fat.
Drug & Medications
There are different non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and other medications available for use that can help with knee pain caused by arthritis. However, some of these are required to be given under a doctor’s prescription. Some medications can also be used at home. Like, with or without a prescription available for purchase over-the-counter or online. For example, NSAIDs ibuprofen and naproxen.
Medications that may help manage knee pain in old age include:
* Steroid injections into the joint
* Acetaminophen and duloxetine
* Oral or topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
* Topical Capsaicin
Important Note: Specialists do highly recommend avoiding using opioids, except for tramadol.
Massaging the knee joints, including self-massage may relieve knee pain and manage stress.
Individuals can try the below-mentioned tips in a seated position with feet flat on the floor and the knees pointing forward;
* Sit with the feet flat on the floor. Place the heel of the hand on the top of the thigh and glide it as far as the knee, then release. Repeat five times. Do the same for the outer and inner sides of the thigh.
* Loosely close the hands into fists, tap the upper, lower, and middle thigh 10 times with both hands. Repeat this process at least three times.
* Press four fingers into the knee tissue and move up and down five times. Repeat all around the knee.
* Massaging the thigh muscles will have a beneficial impact on the knee.
* Place the palm on top of the thigh. Glide it down the thigh, over the knee, and back up the outer thigh.
One research suggested that massaging with essential oils or ointment containing ginger, cinnamon, mastic, sesame oil, and orange may help reduce pain caused by osteoarthritis. It may also improve functioning and flexibility in knees with moderate to severe pain.
Heat & Cold Measures
Heat and cold measures, both can result to be effective in treating knee pain in old age. It has been recommended by doctors all across the globe to ease joint pain that results from arthritis.
Heat: It relaxes muscles and improves lubrication, leading to a reduction in stiffness. Using a hot water bottle or a warm pad might help. You can even use heat to improve mobility in the morning and later use ice to reduce swelling in the day.
Cold: Ice, wrapped in a cloth or chilled water in a bottle might decrease pain, inflammation, and swelling.
Important Note: Make sure to test any hot thing prior to applying it. Especially for an older person or someone who can’t communicate easily.
According to research, specialists found that — as opposed to the climate itself — sensitivity to weather in senior persons with osteoarthritis may affect how they experience knee pain in old age. A colder environment is frequently thought to worsen the pain. Whereas, living in a charming environment may make pain mentally much tolerable.
However, some results of study discoveries didn’t uphold the regular conviction that pain turns out to be worse in a colder environment. Some discoveries showed no connection between rainfall and expanded clinical visits for joint agony.
Apart from all that, individuals from Southern Europe, ladies, and those with higher anxiety levels were more likely to report weather sensitivity. And those with higher levels of sensitivity were more likely to report increased knee pain in old age. Especially in a rainy or blustery and chilly climate.
Based on a study, it was found that acupuncture might turn out to be an effective treatment. Since it helps individuals with osteoarthritis in the knee.
Tai chi is a meditative exercise that essentially benefits with symptoms of depression and the physical aspects of personal satisfaction. Some associations suggest practicing tai chi as a type of activity for individuals with OA of the knee. As well, a year-long investigation of 204 members with knee osteoarthritis concluded that tai chi may have comparative, if not more noteworthy, benefits compared with standard physical therapy. The average recorded age of members who participated in the study was 60 years.
When to Seek Professional Help for Knee Pain in Old Age?
At the point when you are concluding whether to seek professional help about your knee pain problems, a decent dependable guideline exists for most long-term knee injuries. If the symptoms haven’t disappeared even after trying various therapies or exercises or through over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain medications. Then you need to immediately set up a meeting with your primary care physician, health advisor, or orthopedic doctor. In such cases, considering Mewar Hospitals can be a good idea. As we are enriched with some experienced and fine orthopedic surgeons that can deal with knee-related issues.
Remember, try not to take instantly required steps to new knee injuries that are not healing on their own. And those which are emerging out to be extremely painful day by day. However, one must not wait to heal the pain by itself and postpone seeking professional assistance. You can simply call on the helpline numbers of Mewar Hospitals in case you’re more concerned about the pain.
When to Visit a Hospital for Knee Pain?
In cases where:
* You can’t put weight on your knee
* Feel debilitated
* Have a fever
* Or if your knee is red and hot
Then you should immediately consider going to a hospital where the surgeon can assess the condition. An orthopedic surgeon, in such cases, is a specialist person to identify a fracture, infection, or dislocation.
Different signs and symptoms that demand emergency evaluation:
* Swelling, if you are on a blood thinner (warfarin or Coumadin)
* Have a bleeding disorder (such as hemophilia)
* Unbearable pain
* Puncture wounds
* Pain that wakes you
* Pain that does not improve with rest
* Large wounds
Many fractures may require immobilization in a specific position or surgery. Infections need quick consideration. They can be overseen however require brief consideration. Overlooking professional help may hinder the healing process.
The Bottom Line
Remember, knee pain in old age is a common occurrence. Still, there are a lot of treatment options available to better the condition. In some advanced cases, there can be a need to implement surgical practices like knee replacement surgery. But, before that, a lot of options are available as mentioned in the upper section. So, you need to be attentive towards your knee health along with the elder ones.
And if you suspect something wrong, Mewar Hospitals is available with the presence of expert surgeons to remove your worries. Even if you have any other queries, kindly let us know through the given connected resources.
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