Arthritis of the knee! Deal it with courage
Arthritis is not an uncommon name today! Especially in India. where 15% of the population i. e, over 180 million people are affected by it and you will be surprised to know that this prevalence is higher than many wellknown diseases like diabetes, AIDS and cancer. Clearly, this debilitating disease has caught hold of millions of people in the grip of excruciating pain every day.
There are various types of arthritis like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, infectious arthritis, gouty, et. but the most common among these is Osteoarthritis i.e. the arthritis in knee.
It is a condition in which there is loss of the articular cartilage of the femur, tibia, and patella. This can be seen on xray as loss of the space between the two ends of bone. Because of the loss of the gliding surfaces of the bone, people with arthritis may feel as though their knee is stiff and their motion is limited. Sometimes people actually feel a catching or clicking within the knee.
Generally, loading the knee joint with activities such as walking long distances, standing for long periods of time, or climbing stairs makes arthritis pain worse. When the arthritis becomes severe, pain may occur even when sitting or lying down. The pain is usually felt in the inside part of the knee, but also may be felt in the front or back of the knee.
The arthritis in knee not only causes unbearable pain to the sufferers but is also a leading cause of disability across the globe. Accompanied with agonising pain and stiffness, it is both physically and mentally traumatising and can bring your life to a standstill, quite literally.
Arthritis of the knee usually occurs in people as they enter their 60s-70s, but this is variable depending upon factors such as weight, activity level, etc. It can be caused because of varied reasons like simple wear and tear, inflammatory disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, infections, and post-traumatic. People who have had prior injury to their knee, damaging the meniscus or cruciate ligament may also develop arthritis. The end result of all these processes is a loss of the cartilage of the knee joint, leading to bone rubbing against bone.
Depending upon the severity of arthritis and the patient's age, knee arthritis can be managed in a number of different ways. Treatment may consist of operative or non-operative methods, or a combination of both.
Initial treatment of knee arthritis includes activity modification, antiinflammatory medication, and weight loss. Giving up activities that make the pain worse may make this condition bearable for some people. Physical therapy is also recommended to strengthen the muscles around the knee which further helps absorb some of the shock imparted to the joint. Injections of medication inside the knee joint may also help alleviate the pain temporarily.
Furthermore, walking with a cane in the hand on the opposite side is also useful. A combination of these nonoperative measures are effective in non- severe cases and helps ease the pain and disability caused by knee arthritis.
If the non-operative methods have failed to make your condition bearable, surgery may be the best option to treat knee arthritis. The exact type of surgery depends upon your age, anatomy, and underlying condition. Some examples of surgical options to treat arthritis include an osteotomy, which consists of cutting the bone to realign the joint; and knee replacement surgery.
An osteotomy is a good alternative if the patient is young and the arthritis
Dr Shekhar Agarwal Executive Director & Joint Replacement Surgeon, Delhi Institute of Trauma & Orthopaedics, Sant Paramanand Hospital
is limited to a one area of the knee joint. It allows the surgeon to realign the knee to unload the arthritic area and place weight-bearing on relatively uninvolved portions of the knee joint.
Then there is also joint replacement surgery. Joint replacements are now very common with an amazing success rate. The procedure involves removing a damaged joint and putting an artificial joint made from metal or plastic, to help it move smoothly and bring you back from the painful life to a happy, pain- free and active lifestyle. The surgery only takes 2 hours and a rest of a few days is recommended. In more than 90 per cent cases, people who undergo replacement surgery do not need revision surgery for at least 20 years.
But one must consult only a highly experienced surgeon to avoid hasslefree and easy surgery.
Dr Shekhar Agarwal is amongst the best known knee and hip replacement surgeons in Delhi, India, and is Chief Surgeon and Head of Joint Replacement Surgery at the Delhi Institute of Trauma and Orthopaedics (DITO) at Sant Parmanand Hospital in Delhi. With close to three decades of experience under his belt, he has received several accolades and international recognition for his expertise in knee and hip replacement surgery.
He has earned a stellar reputation for providing exemplary patient care including surgical and non- surgical procedures with absolute precision, and has performed joint replacement surgery on thousands of patients with miraculous results.
But as they say, prevention is better than cure. Keep Arthritis at bay by having a healthy diet and proper intake of vitamin D, calcium and iron. An exercise routine is a must too.
from the beautiful landscapes Ritu remembers anecdotes like that of a 70-year-old who was pleasantly surprised to find a lady pilot when he came up to her. She recalls, “‘Wow, well done!” he told her, Bahot Acha laga ek ladki yeh kam kar rahi hai.’ (Enjoyed a girl working). He was so thrilled.
Goa, where she currently runs balloon rides through the Goa Tourism Development Corporation, is another favourite. She readies for another season this October onwards.
Along with the accolades come the challenges. She relates an incident from Pushkar. “It was a little cloudy. We had taken off as there was no prediction of rain. Ten minutes into the flight and it started to rain heavily.”
“In the air, rain matters little as once the burner is switched on, the water gets evaporated. So it’s safe. But at the time of landing we get wet. We have to then close the envelope and the weight of the been a learning experience due to smaller spaces to land. In Goa, she says, the maximum that she has flown has been for an hour and a half due to lack of landing sites. But it’s nothing to be worried about. They are prepared for two hours worth of fuel for a usual 45-minute flight.
Other hindrances are exposed electricity poles and iron fencing. This is not the case abroad where the spaces are wider.
Her career may take her soaring across air spaces, but it is Bengaluru that she returns to once on land. Mother of a 13-year-old, she shuttles between work and motherhood with equal ease. “We are like a miniIndia,” she chuckles.
“My family is not in Goa. My father settled in Harayana, my brother who’s in the Army is posted in West Bengal and husband in Jasailmer.”
But they pitch in when the time comes. “We help each other. If I am working, someone has to look after my son. I return, and help him in his studies.”
The son has already shown his inclinations to grow wings and become an air force pilot. “‘But I’ll return and fly balloons too’ is what he says,” she tells me. He has already had his first free flight at two and has joined his mother on numerous rides.
Her son is not the only one who wants to fly like his mom. Wherever she’s gone girls have come up to her in admiration. They’ve taken on volunteers in the past. Anyone can join her in the skies provided they have the passion for flying and willing to answer the exams to get the licence. “We can offer basic training and they can carry on to study further abroad.”
The best part of her job, she says, is that she’s packed up when the world wakes up – not to mention the great views that her job affords.
BALANCING PROFESSION AND FAMILY