Osteoarthritis of the knee (OA knee) is the most prevalent form of arthritis affecting Indians over the age of 40. Studies conducted by doctors from the best orthopaedics hospital in Bangalore found that 26.6% of people aged 40 and above suffered from OA knee.
The rate was as high as 35% in cities like Agra and Kolkata. The doctors urge that younger people should be made aware of OA, which can help in preventing this debilitating condition at an advanced age.
What is Osteoarthritis of the knee?
It is a condition that causes progressive degeneration of knee cartilages due to wear and tear. The knee joint occurs between the lower end of the thigh bone (femur) and the upper end of the shin bone (tibia). Walking and running can exert forces up to eight times your body weight onto the joint.
So, there are cartilages in between the bones to absorb the shock. The onset of OA results in an imbalance in the joints, causing the cartilages to erode unevenly till one side of the joint is completely devoid of cartilage.
OA develops in 4 stages. The first is mild, with minor wear-and-tear, associated with little or no pain. Bone spurs (projections) begin to form in the second stage. The third stage is where the cartilages begin to erode noticeably.
In the final stage, the joint space between the bones significantly reduces, and the cartilage is almost completely lost. The patient experiences severe pain and requires surgical intervention.
High Tibial Osteotomy Knee Surgery and Realignment
The term osteotomy comes from the terms ‘Osteo’ – meaning bone, and ‘tomy’ – to cut. Surgical correction of OA of the knee, therefore, involves cutting of the tibia bone to restore balance to the joint and prevent further degeneration of the cartilage.
The doctor makes a small incision in the top part of the tibia and inserts a wedge inside. This realigns the joint and shifts the pressure away from the damaged side.
As a result, the patient’s knee cartilages are expected to erode more evenly in the future, thus avoiding or delaying the need for a total knee replacement surgery. It is, therefore, generally performed on younger patients to prolong the longevity of their natural joints.
Post Operative Care
Patients take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to regain full functionality of the knee. The first-week post-surgery is a crucial time when the patient experiences severe pain and inflammation. During this period, doctors elevate the knee above the heart level to regulate blood pressure at the joint.
Once the doctors are satisfied with the progress, patients begin their strengthening phase, which lasts for about three months. Using crutches, patients perform stretches and strengthening exercises to regain mobility.
During the next phase of recovery, patients start applying weight on the joint, can swim, cycle, use the treadmill and correct their gait. Subsequently, patients can start training in the gym and finally can resume sports activities.
The recovery stage is quite demanding, and most patients may feel dejected. However, a good relationship with the doctors goes a long way in staying on the right track to a quick recovery.
Doctors at the best orthopedics hospital in Bangalore suggest that patients who regularly follow their advice have the fastest recovery rates, vis-a-vis patients who overestimate themselves.
OA of the knee is a degenerative condition that can permanently affect a patient’s mobility. Regular check-ups can help detect and prevent the onset of OA. It can also give patients an opportunity to opt for the High Tibial Osteotomy procedure to reconfigure the joint and thus retain full functionality of the knee. Visit an orthopedic hospital to ensure the best health of your joints.