Geriatric Joint Pain & Knee care

Geriatric Joint Pain & Knee Care

Chronic Knee pain

  Growing old is a fact of life, and no one is excluded from this journey. We have a choice, however, to see it travel well by preparing for its challenges. Chronic knee pain is one of the more common challenge that an  individual has to face. One such common example of this type of degenerative joint disease is  Osteoarthritis. A disease that causes an increase risk of chronic knee pain.

     In 2016’s well-being of the Singapore Elderly study conducted by the National Healthcare Group. 1 in 5 seniors experience chronic knee pain. This particular disease affects twice as many women as men above the age of 60. In Singapore, an estimate of more than 40% of the elderly suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Young Singaporeans are experiencing joint pain as well. In 2007 MOH ( Ministry of Health ) reported that 23.7 percent of Singaporeans between 18 to 50 suffer from chronic pains. A three-fold increment from the reported 7.4% in 2001.

What is Osteoarthritis and chronic knee pain 

Osteoarthritis

     The wear and tear over time results in cartilage deterioration. Leading to chronic pain, lowered mobility and stiffness. There are 2 types of Osteoarthritis: Primary and secondary. 

Osteoarthritis knee pain

  • Primary:

    • This condition occurs when the cartilage between our bones starts to wear off. Ageing causes water content in our cartilage to reduce. Consequently leading to joint pain as it becomes weaker and more prone to damage. 
  • Secondary:

    • This condition is caused by disease, genetics or accident. This is not age related.

                       (Both of these conditions can affect the knees, fingers, hips, ankles or toes.)

Chronic Knee Pain

      Chronic knee pain is pain persisting beyond the normal time frame of recovery. This type of pain often occurs despite medical interventions. When reduced muscle strength from chronic knee pain leads to reduced function and physical activity. As a result leading to disability. 

     The leading cause of chronic disability for the elderly is Osteoarthritis. Consequently, a society faced with an ageing population will be affected. The most common form of arthritis is the leading cause of chronic disability in the elderly. With an increasingly aging population the impact of this condition is being more acutely felt.

 

Symptoms of knee pain

      Symptoms for both types of Osteoarthritis are similar. Stiffness , swelling, pain and tenderness are some of these common symptoms. They are accompanied by a grating sensation with clicking or cracking sounds in the joints. You may experience pain in the early stages of Osteoarthritis while using your joints or when you first wake. However, when the condition worsens you may experience pain even while resting.

 

  • Pain & Stiffness

    • The earliest way to detect Osteoarthritis, commonly experienced after physical activities such as walking, climbing stairs and sitting for prolonged periods of time.

 

  • Swelling

    • Inflammation can cause swelling in your joints due to the breakdown in cartilage leading to knee pain. 
  • Weak Muscles

    • Weaker muscles means weaker support around the knees.
  • Limited range of motion

    • Osteoarthritis can lead to stiffness and decreased mobility.
  • Crepitus:

    • A grinding or grating sensation may be experienced when moving the knees. Leading to joint pain, caused by the rubbing of two roughened bone surfaces. 

 

An important note to note is that bone spurs cause no symptoms on an early onset. This can go undetected for many years .It will start to hurt when they begin to press on nerve or tendons.

 

 

The 4 stages of osteoarthritis.

 

Osteoarthritis can be categorized into 4 stages. Each stage is represented in intensity and progress for the condition.

 

  • Stage 1:Early / Minor Osteoarthritis 

    • Minor wear and tear is affecting the cartilage in this stage. Mild discomfort and random pains may be experienced periodically after a physical activity. Scans like X-ray might not be able to detect yet.

 

  • Stage 2: Mild Osteoarthritis 

    • Cartilage goes through an advanced wear and tear in cartilage as the joint space might begin to narrow as well. Individuals might experience an increased frequency in pain and stiffness after physical activities. Scans like X-rays could start to show noticeable changes.

 

  • Stage 3: Advanced Osteoarthritis

    • Stiffness, pain and limited mobility becomes more significant as cartilage begins to degenerate. Daily activities are affected such as: bending, squatting and climbing stairs.  A risk of bone spurs can develop around the knee joints in this stage. Scans like X-rays should show significant changes in the bone structure.

 

  • Stage 4: Severe Osteoarthritis

    • A persistence in pain and limited mobility is significant in this stage. A joint pain deformity becomes prominent as the bone spurs grow larger. Daily activities will become extremely difficult to carry out . Scans like X-rays should show significant deterioration of the joint structure.  

Factors that cause knee pain

Visual depiction of stretching
Stretching is important and essential to protecting your body from injuries.

     There are a myriad of factors that can cause joint pain. By understanding them we can be more mindful of our knee’s health. 

 

  • Weight

    • A common key factor in the risk of knee pain. Excess weight puts unhealthy stress on your knee joints. This increases your chances of osteoarthritis and degenerating your knee cartilage. By losing unhealthy weight, one can enjoy the benefits of a lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

  • Pain condition history

    • Sustaining injury on your knees before, puts you at risk of developing knee pain in the later stages of life. A weakening of tissue due to injury can compromise the integrity of your knees. Stiff and weak muscles contribute to the risks of chronic knee pain. However strong muscles on the other hand, are able to absorb impact and buffer against injuries.

 

  • Genetics

    • A family history of knee pain increases the risks of an individual getting it.

 

  • Lifestyle

    • Your daily routines and demands from your job can affect your knees too. Daily physical demands places repeated unhealthy stress onto your joints. Having a sedentary lifestyle on the other hand, puts you at risk of becoming overweight too. Therefore the objective should always be balance. 

 

  • Sex

    • Women are more likely to develop chronic knee pain. Because of childbirth their joints are more elastic. Therefore, is put at higher risks to develop knee pain.

 

Preventing knee pain in old age

Workout and Exercise geriatric
It is important to exercise for your mental and physical health and wellness.

     Elderly individuals are one of the most commonly affected by Osteoarthritis. This is why we need to educate ourselves to develop good habits and practices for our health. Understanding the causes of chronic knee pain can be beneficial to any individual. Here are a few factors that can help you and your elderly in preventing knee pain.

 

  • Diet

    • Anti-inflammatory diet can help individuals from developing inflammation in their joints. Avoiding processed food high in refined sugar and carbohydrates is a good way to start. Foods such as meat and dairy can also cause inflammation. Being mindful of a balanced intake is good practice. A good diet should consist of a good balance of vegetables, fruits, beans, fish and whole grains. 

 

  • Hydration

    • An individual’s hydration is also very important, as our body is made up of 60% water. Our bone’s cartilage is 70-80% water, therefore keeping yourself hydrated is contributing to the good health of your knees.

 

  • Healthy exercise routine

    • A healthy exercise routine is pivotal in ensuring good health of your knees. Practicing good form and prudency in your work out. The development of strength in your muscles can help support your knees. This in turn will put less strain on the cartilage of your joints. Studies show that 10% increase in quadriceps strength decreases the incidence of knee osteoarthritis in women by 50%.

 

  • Posture

    • Ensure proper posture in your daily life to maintain healthy knees. A good form in exercise is also good practice. Such example is aligning your back with your legs and glutes when performing weight bearing activities. This will decrease the load on the joint surfaces. 
    • Be mindful of your own gait as this is another important factor. As having a bad gait can create muscle imbalances in the body. Therefore causing stress to be placed onto the knees.

 

  • Supplements

    • For an extra boost we can take supplements. Ensuring a good uptake of calcium and vitamin D can help bolster your knee’s resilience. 

 

  • Avoiding high impact activities

    • Degeneration is unavoidable in ageing and is prominent in the elderly. This is why we need to plan our physical activities wisely. Low impact activities can help an individual lose weight while maintaining the health of their knees. Some examples of low impact activities include swimming and cycling. Comparatively high impact activities can cause further aggravation of a pain condition.

Here is a video by our principal practitioner. You may refer to this for more exercises to strengthen your knees.

Therapy programs by us

 

  • Lifestyle Modification

Our consultants will tailor a program specially for you by diving into understanding your lifestyle. From your circadian cycle, your diet to the physical demands of work that you go through. We will not only help you recover from your chronic knee pain, but also equip you with the tools necessary to prevent further problems in the future.

A clinically advanced non-invasive equipment This intervention helps patients with pain by reducing knee joint inflammations. Improving muscle imbalances and creating healthy circulations for your joints. It also helps loosen scarred tissue from chronic muscular conditions as well as other pain conditions.

State-of-the-art technology that has helped our patients efficiently rehabilitate, strengthen muscles and lose weight within a short time frame. This advance tech is able to reduce body weight of up to 90 percent during exercises such as walking or running. Helping relief any pain and pressure applied to the knees from patients that may be obese, or have any existing chronic knee issues. It helps boost patient’s performance during the exercises within the machine, Increasing their heart rates to efficiently burn calories. At the same time, our consultants will be able to analyse and help improve our patient’s gait/movement/pattern while walk and running.

 

CALL US FOR INQUIRIES: +65 6223-7170

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Reference Materials:

 

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