Nip knee woes in the bud

DON'T WAIT: Experts say that early diagnosis is important to prevent the symptoms of osteoarthritis from becoming a cycle of pain.


    Aug 27, 2014

    Nip knee woes in the bud

    CAN you imagine feeling pain in the knee when you walk or stand? That is what happens for sufferers of osteoarthritis in the knee.

    The knee is one of the more important joints in the body, but it is also more prone to wear and tear than other joints due to its complex structure.

    In the case of osteoarthritis, there is degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying bone.

    It usually occurs in the elderly or in people who have done too much sports, gained weight, have bowed legs, disease or previous injuries to the knee.

    The joint cartilage protects the ends of the bones from wearing out where they meet.

    But with time, the bones grind away at each other, causing discomfort.

    People in their 30s to 40s can suffer from the disease as well, with obesity being a possible reason.

    There are options to relieve the ache, such as painkillers, and even medical treatments. Some people also take supplements, or resort to knee implants to try and live a life without pain.

    Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knee include stiffness, weakness and swelling in the knee, as well as knee pain, which could be due to a host of reasons.

    In a healthy knee, a thick substance called synovial fluid provides shock absorption and lubrication, allowing the bones to glide against one another.

    In people with osteoarthritis, a critical substance in synovial fluid known as hyaluronic acid breaks down. This means less synovial fluid to lubricate the joints.

    So, loss of hyaluronic acid appears to contribute to joint pain and stiffness.

    Just like the brake lining of a well-used car, joints tend to wear out after a long and productive life. Joints are like gears - they work best if they are well lubricated.

    Experts say that early diagnosis is important to prevent the symptoms from becoming a cycle of pain.

    Osteoarthritis, if left unmanaged, can affect the quality of a person's life.

    It not only makes mobility difficult, but can keep sufferers from enjoying things that matter to them as well. These include going for holidays that require extensive walking, enjoying sports and other activities which they used to do often, or simply playing with their grandchildren.