What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of disability in the elderly. The cartilage (smooth glistening lining at the end of long bones) gets worn out with age leading to disability and pain on walking.
Osteoarthritis is actually “Joint Failure”
Old age, female sex, obesity, previous knee injury, deformed lower limbs and muscle weakness are common risk factors for developing osteoarthritis.
The major symptoms are pain, stiffness in joints, swollen joints, grating sensation and deformity.
The diagnosis is made based upon symptomatology and changes of joint space narrowing on weight bearing radiographs.
In early arthritis, weight loss, lifestyle modification, muscle strengthening exercises, ambulatory assisted devices may be helpful. Medical management includes use of anti-inflammatory medications for pain relief, glucosamines and intra-articular injection of hyaluronic acid or steroids.
Surgical treatment is indicated in cases where medical management fails. Total knee replacement is the surgical treatment of choice.
‘Life is beautiful’ after total knee replacement
Getting a knee replacement done can be a life changing experience for some. From being dependent on some one or suffering from debilitating knee pain to an independent person who walks pain free, enjoys his life, plays with his grandchildren and goes out for morning walks with his friends, getting a total knee replacement can be a paradigm shift. Patients can stand the same evening of surgery and can start walking with a walker the same evening or next day after surgery. You can start using toilet from the second day onwards. At first you walk with a walker or stick. You can start using stairs as soon as you feel confident. International patients can fly back home as early as 7 days after surgery.
Return to work can be as early as 2 weeks. If you got your left knee replaced, you can drive an automatic car as soon as 2 weeks after surgery. If you got right knee replaced or both knees replaced, you may have to delay driving till 4-6weeks after surgery. Sexual activity can be resumed upto 4weeks after surgery. You improve over time. Knee replacement surgery requires an average 3 months before your muscles and bones heal completely and you regain normal motion and strength. You can return to sports such as swimming, golf, bowling, dancing and bicycling three months after surgery. You have to avoid high impact activities such as running and jumping and contact sports such as football.
Total knee replacement is a boon for the elderly who want to live an active pain free life.