What’s life without the ability to move freely and without pain? Indeed, movement is what enables our bodies to operate in all their delicate, wondrous complexity. But what if our ability to move freely is obstructed due to the wear and tear of bones and cartilages in our bodies? We will end up feeling caged and miserable.
Unfortunately, as we age, we develop problems in the hips and knees that can limit our ability to perform our daily activities with ease. These problems can happen due to degenerative changes within different parts of our joint viz., cartilages, bones, and/or supporting tissues, also known as Arthritis, a common term used for conditions that affect the joints.
While there are more than 100 types, the most common form of Arthritis in India is Osteoarthritis(OA). It is the second most common rheumatologic problem. It is the most frequent joint disease with a prevalence of 22 to 39 percent in India. Osteoarthritis is more common in women than in men. Nearly 45 percent of women over the age of 65 have symptoms, while 70 percent of those over 65 years show radiological evidence of Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis may lead to pain, stiffness, and, ultimately loss of movement in the joint.
How does OA affect the body?
In a healthy joint, a coating of tough but smooth and slippery tissue, called cartilage, covers the bones’ surface and helps the bones move freely against each other. When a joint develops OA, part of the cartilage thins and the surface becomes rougher. This means the joint doesn’t move as smoothly as it should. There are three stages of OA. In the mild stage, walking is tolerable but can be associated with discomfort. Luckily, this can be treated with pain-relieving medications.
In the moderate stage, one may experience joint stiffness after sitting for a long time or waking up in the morning. Swelling in joints may be present after an extended period of motion, as well. At this stage, doctors recommend changes in lifestyle, medication, and physiotherapy.
In the advanced stage, mobility is severely affected; pain may not be manageable through non-invasive means, and surgical options such as joint replacement surgery may be recommended by doctors.
Benefits of joint replacement for advances stage OA
Joint replacement procedures are a result of more than 40 years of research. It is one of the safest and most effective treatment options offering long-term benefits and ensuring patients with a normal physical lifestyle. It improves mobility for patients, reduces pain to a greater extent, and assures better treatment response and a higher satisfaction rate. Today, innovations in the field of medical technologies have truly transformed joint replacement procedures. As these innovations get better, and we see a rise in the country’s aging population, the demand for joint replacement surgeries will surge. Having said that, it is important to note that the longevity of knee replacements depends on several factors, such as the age of the patient, activities, and weight. It is always better to take advice from your doctor. Remember, OA could mean restricted mobility for you. Making the right choice is significant to your wellbeing. Consult your Orthopedic Surgeon today!