The Ageing Knee
If you are above 50 and suffer from knee pain and aches in your lower limbs, fret not - you are not alone.
A study (the Well-being of the Singapore Elderly), conducted by the National Healthcare Group in 2016, states that about 1 in 5 seniors experience chronic pain. Two of the more commonly affected areas are the knees and ankles.
Knee pain, one of the most common musculoskeletal complaints that doctors get from their patients, can be caused by an injury or by an underlying condition, like Arthritis.
As our body ages, bones and joints start to weaken, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and much discomfort.
Women are more prone to have Osteoporosis, or a softening of the bones (which is caused by the lack of calcium), which makes them more susceptible to Arthritis.
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis develops over time from normal wear and tear of joints or injuries.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of degenerative joint disease and affects twice as many women as men who are 60 years old and above. In Singapore, an estimation of more than 40% of the elderly suffers from knee osteoarthritis.
It is also called age-related Arthritis because it often develops slowly over time as people age.
What Are The Main Symptoms of Osteoarthritis?
The most common symptoms of Osteoarthritis are pain and stiffness in the affected joints. The pain may be worse when you move the joint. Your joints may feel stiff after resting, but this often wears off relatively quickly once you get moving. Symptoms may vary for no apparent reason, or you may find that your symptoms vary depending on what you’re doing.
The affected joint may sometimes be swollen. The joint may not move as freely as usual, and it may make crackling sounds as you move it - this is called Crepitus.
The muscles around the joint may sometimes look thin. The joint may give way at times because your muscles have weakened.
Causes of Osteoarthritis
The exact cause is not known, but numerous things may increase your risk of developing Osteoarthritis. These include:
- Joint injury – over-using your joint when it has not healed after an injury or operation
- Age – as you get older, your risk of developing the condition increases
- Family History – Osteoarthritis may run in families (however, studies have not identified a single gene responsible)
- Obesity– being severely overweight puts excess strain on your joints, such as your knees and hips
- Gender – Osteoarthritis is more common in women
There is no cure for Osteoarthritis - but medication, non-drug methods and assistive devices can help with easing the pain. A damaged joint can also be surgically replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic one.
Undenatured Collagen Type II (UC-II®) is extracted from chicken breast cartilage which is a rich source of natural and unprocessed collagen. It has been talked a lot about lately as it is a highly effective ingredient in supporting joint function and cartilage recovery.
A study that was published in Nutrition Journal states that UC-II may be more effective at improving symptoms of Osteoarthritis (OA) than a placebo or glucosamine hydrochloride plus chondroitin sulfate (GC).
If you suffer from chronic pain, make an appointment to see an Orthopaedic Specialist directly. There is no reason to suffer silently and increase the risk of the condition getting worse.