OsteoarthritisThe most frequent forms of arthritis are Osteoarthritis, a wear and tear disease that becomes increasingly common with age. It results from a wearing down of the cartilage in the joints. The pads of cartilages at the end of the bones become splayed and rough instead of smooth, preventing normal movements of the joints. The joints begin to grate like a rusty gate instead of operating smoothly like that of a well–oiled machine. Osteoarthritis most often affects the large weight–bearing joint, knees and hips as well as spine.
Gravity is the enemy of the man’s weight–bearing joints. The repeated impact on them cause minute trauma which leads to degeneration of the joint i.e. Osteoarthritic changes set in. People who are overweight are more likely to get Osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis often follows an injury to or a repeated abuse of a joint, as often in case of athletes. It is still not known why many people who subject their joints to constant abuse often escape from Osteoarthritis while others suffer from it.
Pain and stiffness are the most common symptoms, they are usually noticed by weather changes.
Sometimes the affected joints become tender and swollen.
TreatmentThe frequency and the duration of the treatment varies depending on the severity and the effect sought.
Osteoarthritis of the Knee and Ankle JointsThe following treatments are useful in relieving pain and swelling of the knee and ankle joints.
- Gentle massage to the joints to strengthen muscles around the joints.
- Hot and cold fomentation and affusion to the joint to relieve pain and spasm.
- Cold compress to joints to treat localized inflammation and pain.
- A heating compress (pack) is also helpful in relieving pain/stiffness/swelling.
- Neutral immersion and neutral half–bath with epsom salt for 15–20 minutes.
- Contrast foot baths are also very helpful in relieving pain and spasm.
- Neutral jet, whirlpool and underwater massages help in relaxing the muscles of joints and also give relief from pain and spasm.
- Direct hot mud applications relieve pain.
- Regular exercises such as flexion and extension of the joints help to strengthen the muscles.
- It is also important to reduce the weight by following a controlled diet program under the guidance of a doctor.