Extending Knee Life at Middle Age – The Impact of Osteoarthritis
Team sports, jogging, running and performing other high impact activities that repeatedly cause the knee to twist, pound and turn the knees may cause stress aging joints. Highly active middle-aged people can develop knee pain as a result of osteoarthritis.
As a result of osteoarthritis, cartilage begins to wear away from the bone. One knee or both may be affected with the developing condition.
Symptoms and Diagnoses of Osteoarthritis
Pain is experienced in patients with osteoarthritis, particularly when standing or going up and down stairs. The knee begins to buckle and give way, sometimes locking in place or becoming stiff and swollen after prolonged use. Most patients report a feeling of an inability to straighten the leg or bend it when needed.
Most people with osteoarthritis are over the age of 55 and are obese and/or have a family history of the condition. While younger and more active individuals may develop osteoarthritis, it is less common. Younger people may develop the condition if the knee has suffered a significant injury and did not heal right away.
It is necessary to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment of osteoarthritis. A comprehensive medical history and physical examination is performed and the doctor may order a series of imaging studies or tests before recommending a particular course of treatment.
How To Extend the Life of the Middle-Aged Knee
Total knee replacement surgeries are at an all-time high, as baby boomers report more and more issues with osteoarthritis of the knee. Doctors are promoting lifestyle changes that help people cope with the pain and symptoms experienced by the condition in an effort to increase the quality of life without the need for surgery. In the most severe cases, surgery may be the only option.
For middle-aged individuals, the earlier the diagnosis of osteoarthritis of the knee, the more likely conservative treatment will help alleviate the symptoms. Diagnosed in its early stages, the patient with osteoarthritis of the knee may benefit from low impact activities and other non-operative treatments that delay or completely eliminate the need for surgery.
In some cases, simple activity modification may be the only form of treatment required; however, in the most severe cases, lifestyle modifications may be of no benefit. In the cases where surgery is eventually needed, the patient will have learned to modify activities first in order to preserve the knee replacement joint.
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