Watch out for constant knee pain

NOT JUST AFFECTING THE ELDERLY: Osteoarthritis of the knee doesn't occur only in old age. Obese people and athletes are also vulnerable to the disease. Warning signs include persistent pain in the knees and difficulty in carrying out daily activities.


    Jun 25, 2014

    Watch out for constant knee pain

    WITHOUT our knees, we can't stand upright. So, taking care of them is important.

    One of the largest and more essential joints in the human body, the knees are more susceptible to wear and tear than other joints, due to its complex structure.

    For some, their knees face degeneration to the point that they are diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee - a disease that progresses over time and culminates in the destruction of articular cartilage and joints.

    Warning signs include persistent pain in the knees and difficulty in carrying out daily activities, such as climbing the stairs and even walking.

    Though the elderly are more commonly afflicted, many are under the misconception that osteoarthritis is an old-age disease, said Christopher Goh, resident doctor at the Inliven Center for Osteoarthritis Solutions.

    In fact, those in their 30s to 40s can suffer from the disease as well.

    "Obesity is one reason why someone younger might get osteoarthritis, because of the heavy load on the joint," said Dr Goh.

    Another group of people that may be vulnerable to the disease are athletes, who might have suffered sports-related injuries to the knee, he added.

    Studies have shown that of those afflicted with osteoarthritis of the knee, 70 per cent are women.

    "The causes for osteoarthritis in women may be multi-factorial and include anatomical differences, previous trauma, and genetic and hormonal issues," said Dr Goh.

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

    "With regard to osteoarthritis symptoms in the knee, early diagnosis prevents the terrible negative cycle of pain, muscle weakness and joint stiffness from setting in," said Dr Goh.