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Team Resolve

February 8, 2022

Knee Pain In Elderly: Care And Precautions In Winter Months

Around 15 crore Indians are suffering from knee pain and the majority among them are in the age group of 55 years and above. Knee pain is one of the leading causes of disability among older women and men. Knee pain can be of many types but the most common symptom faced by everyone around the globe is that the pain increases with increasing cold.

Table of Contents

What Is Knee Pain?

Knee pain is a common complaint that affects nearly all age groups but the most prone are the elder people. Knee pain can be the result of any previous injury, torn ligament or cartilage.

The good part about it is that it can be avoided if proper precautions are taken. If someone is suffering from knee pain then there are cures for it too.

Causes And Symptoms

Causes Of Knee Pain

Knee pain in the elderly is most common because as we age the movement of the joints reduces. It becomes stiffer and less flexible. It occurs because the lubricating fluid in our joints decreases. As a result, more wear and tear of the joints occur. It affects the surrounding muscles and nerves which cause pain. The bone becomes weak and more prone to fractures, which takes a long recovery time.

 Knee pain in the elderly can be caused due to many reasons some of them are:

  1. The most common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis and arthritis.
  2. Due to side effects of any previous injury.
  3. Tear of any ligament.
  4. Due to bone fractures in an earlier stage of life.
  5. Sitting in a constrained area.
  6. Sitting on knees for a prolonged period.
  7. Knee injury.
  8. Infections.
  9. Types of arthritis.
  10. Gout or pseudogout: gout is a type of arthritis that is caused when uric acids; which are the wastes of our body, get collected in the joints.

Symptoms Of Knee Pain

Depending on the type and cause of the problem the location of the pain may vary from person to person. The most common and widely seen symptoms are:

  1. Swelling and stiffness of the joint.
  2. Redness and sensitivity to touch.
  3. Propping or crushing sounds when the joints are rotated or any movement is done.
  4. Weakness.
  5. Instability.
  6. Weaker balance and inability to stand properly.
  7. Difficulty in shifting positions or standing up quickly from a seated position.
  8. Inability to fully straighten the leg or knee.

Types Of Knee Pain

The various causes of knee pain in the elderly can be due to a particular or more than one type of knee problem.

  1. Osteoarthritis: It occurs when the flexible tissues of the knee wear off. The symptoms of osteoarthritis are knee pain, joint stiffness and low back pain.
  2. Arthritis: inflammation of one or more than one joint causes arthritis. It worsens with old age. The knee can become affected by any form of arthritis. The symptoms are extremely uncomfortable pain, joint pain and decreased range of motion.
  3. Rheumatoid arthritis: it is an auto-immune disorder and the body starts to destroy its own cells. It is a chronic disease and it can almost affect any type of joint of the body.
  4. Gout: it is a type of arthritis that occurs when the crystals of uric acids get accumulated in the joints.
  5. Pseudogout: pseudogout is different from gout as it occurs due to the accumulation of calcium-containing crystals in the joint fluid.
  6. Septic arthritis: it occurs due to an infection in the joints. It can quickly cause extensive damage to the entire knee cartilage. It occurs with fever and pain in the joints.
  7. Torn meniscus: it is a common injury in which the tissue tears because of any forceful twisting. The common symptoms of a torn meniscus are knee pain, swelling of the knee, redness and sensitivity to touch and limited range of movement.
  8. Iliotibial band syndrome: a painful condition in which the connective tissue rubs against the thigh bone. The pain can spread to the entire leg affecting the knee region. The symptoms are knee, leg and hip pain.

Precautions

  1. As knee pain can occur due to previous medical history of any injury. So, it is better to take care of any injury properly.
  2. It is advisable not to leave any treatment in the middle and continue to take medicines for as long as prescribed by the doctor. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  3. Staying at a healthy weight: regular workouts, taking healthy and nutritious foods, getting enough sleep, drinking plenty of water and leading a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Controlling blood sugar levels from an early stage.
  5. Controlling other chronic illnesses like high or low blood pressure.
  6. Regular stretching and exercises.
  7. Doing yoga and going out for walks.
  8. Quit smoking.
  9. Getting enough protein from the diet.
  10.  It is better to prevent any injury.

What Can Be Done At Home

For elderly people suffering from knee and joint pain, the following home remedies and practices can help keeping the pain in check:

  1. Compression bandage: compression bandages are like knee bands that help in aligning the knee posture, swelling and providing support. Professionally applied leucoplast tapes have the same effect.
  2. Resting the leg on a pillow or any slightly high object.
  3. Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like painkillers to reduce the pain and swelling. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  4. Ice and heat therapy: some people like the feeling of cold on their strained area while others prefer the feeling of hot. Both ice and hot therapy can provide comfort to the pain, swelling and bruising. Ice or heat should be selected according to one’s preference. A layer should be kept in between the skin and the ice or heated substance. An application of 20 mins is enough to reduce the pain and provide comfort.
  5. The doctor may suggest taking corticosteroid injections to increase lubrication. In such a case, the patient must visit the doctor regularly and take proper medications as prescribed. (note: it is advisable to contact a doctor before trying out the medications)
  6. Getting physical therapy. (note: it should be done under the supervision of any professional)
  7. Trying out massage therapy and acupuncture to release pain. (note: it should be done under the supervision of any professional)

Recovery

There is no particular defined period of recovery. Most people recover fully from reactive arthritis but it may take two to three months. 

 

The pain might be in control but the medications usually continue. For some people, the pain disappears and then comes back again if the medication is stopped. In some cases, if the medication is not taken properly, the infection can occur that might spread to other parts worsening the condition. 

 

For complete knowledge on recovery, the patients should contact their doctor because the recovery process varies from person to person.

 

Around 90% of the elderly people suffering from knee and joint pain can return to their normal activities after treatment.

 

In severe cases like in the 60s when the knee has degenerated badly, surgery is performed. The two most common surgeries performed are:

  1. Arthroscopic knee surgery: it repairs any kind of injury and removes small pieces of bones and cartilage.
  2. Knee replacement surgery: damaged region or the entire region of the knee is replaced by medicated plastic and metal parts. Artificial joints are installed. After a successful knee replacement surgery, the patient can often experience a healthy functioning knee for more than 20 years.

After the surgery, the medications and treatment must continue as prescribed by the doctor.

 

It is always better to ask for help. The family members and caregivers should keep an eye on it. It’s not that the person cannot perform any activities, but there might be cases when they can face difficulty in performing it. So, asking for help is better than worsening the condition.

 

Disclaimer

The above-mentioned remedies and medicines; are over the counter medicines (most of them) and are effective in most cases. It is advisable to contact the doctor before taking any medications.

Why Should Someone Choose Resolve360?

  1. Resolve360 is a promising online platform, where one can receive treatment at the comfort of their own home. 
  2. Sick patients don’t need to worry about traveling long distances to get them diagnosed.
  3. The patients can save up the time and can utilize that time to take care of themselves.
  4. Live sessions are conducted so that the patients can have a face to face interaction with their assigned doctors. 
  5. Building trust is really important. So, we always try our best to provide the maximum support to the patients to make them feel comfortable. 
  6. We always schedule the timings of the meetings on the basis of the patient’s preference. Rescheduling can also be done if there are any problems.
  7. When a patient comes to our doctor it becomes the responsibility of our doctor to give them a healthy life.
  8. We guarantee that the doctors will never leave their patients. 
  9. The patients can openly talk about their problems and we assure that the information will be between the patients and the doctors only. 
  10. Our doctors plan each and every step necessary for their patients, starting from planning out exercises to drafting their diet charts. 
  11. The doctors on the platform are extremely reliable and are certified professionals with experience. 
  12. It is a platform that provides solutions to every problem, starting with home remedies to prescribed medications. 
  13. The patient’s trust is our confidence!

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