There are children and adolescents who suffer from knee pain located on the front of the joint. It usually appears when they are sitting, when stretching their legs to get more comfortable or when they get up, that is why it is known as a “seat claudication” sign. For these young people, stairs become a torment, especially lowering them, and MRI studies usually do not detect any problems. “A growth spurt close to the time the pain started is also often present, along with an inappropriate habit – for example, bad postures like sitting with bent knees too much – or abuse in intense sports, with poorly planned and insufficient breaks “says Fernando Sanz Zapata,
The problem is that children grow fast in height but have slower muscle development, causing vulnerability. Sanz points out that the “typical adolescent who has given the spurt, which his parents continually correct to ‘straighten up’, reflects an insufficient muscle tone of the back for his new height. The pains tend to disappear when the stimulus that the produced or simply when his muscular state improves. Rest and physical therapy are the bases of the treatment “, explains Sanz.
A painful bill for opposing
Once adolescence is over, having your knees hurt is a possibility that continues to be a reality; Among young people, it usually happens to people who prepare physical tests in a short time, such as those that must be passed to access the bodies and security forces of the State. They tend to be “knee abusers” by resorting to self-designed training routines, with all the mistakes that this can bring. “In many cases they have not led an overly active life and are highly motivated because they see in the competitions a stable job. It is often difficult to explain to them that the pain is due to overexertion, that their level of training is exceeding them and that if they do not know how to stop in time, they may have an injury that requires surgical treatment, “says Sanz. Stopping the pace, as difficult as it may seem, is what they should do.
From sedentary lifestyle to ‘running’, through consultation
Exercising is one of the best gifts you can give your health, but it is advisable not to just go from having an allergy to sports to preparing to run marathons. The joints of people who do not make the transition to an active life correctly can suffer a lot. “They are in the middle ages, so the damage to the cartilage can be present silently, and sometimes they suffer some degree of misalignment of the lower limbs, which does not make them suitable for any sport, especially the most demanding ones,” warns Sanz. . On the other hand, being overweight is one of the risk factors that has the greatest impact on the hip, knee and ankle: it accelerates the degeneration of cartilage – that of the kneecap takes away the palm – and the appearance of osteoarthritis.
An MRI diagnoses meniscus damage and bone edema, which is a sign that a heavier weight has been loaded than the body can support, Sanz explains. In these cases, doctors recommend rest, physical therapy, and a quiet return to physical activity. It is also advisable to lose weight through diet and play sports that have less impact than running . “You have to leave the most demanding and hard sports for when you have the right weight and a sufficient physical form. Running while obese is not the best way to lose weight,” emphasizes the orthopedic surgeon.
Problems of ‘working’ the knee too much
This is the case of mechanics, plumbers, bricklayers and other professionals who usually work on their knees and squats, or who handle a lot of weight every day. Specialists also consider them “knee abusers.” “It is common to see a middle-aged worker with pain in the inner knee area when bending over, with episodes of swelling and feeling of hooking at certain times, that is, the one who usually has ‘good days and bad days’. It is the typical case of degenerative meniscal rupture, a natural condition associated with joint aging that, under lighter load conditions, would go unnoticed clinically and that, although it is observed on an MRI, it does not operate if it does not give symptoms “, describes the CEMTRO Clinic expert.
Whatever age and job we have, the way we dress our feet also has an influence. “The use of footwear appropriate to the needs of each person can significantly reduce joint pain. In the case of those with an imbalance in the femorotibial axes, it is recommended to place wedges on the shoes to avoid or slow down joint pain and degeneration , and thus correct the imbalance that would prevent surgery, “says Ramón Cugat, head of the Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology service at the Quirón Hospital in Barcelona.
Osteoarthritis: when age does not forgive
The years are not wasted for any region of the human body, and degenerative diseases eventually appear. Osteoarthritis closes in on the knees until the metabolic changes paired with aging translate into a painful reduction in the thickness of the cartilage. It also worsens its texture and the ability to transmit loads deteriorates. As the disease progresses, the joint becomes deformed and widens in an attempt to increase the surface to decrease pressure, causing loss of mobility and cracking. “Patients complain of morning numbness, which improves as it ‘heats up’ in a few minutes,and pain with mild or moderate overloads. There are usually stages without symptoms that alternate with other very annoying ones, with crises of pain and inflammation, “observes the traumatologist Fernando Sanz.
His recommendations for coping with osteoarthritis, after consultation with the specialist, are to maintain healthy lifestyle habits such as not gaining weight, doing regular physical activity that does not generate pain, resorting to physical therapy and taking anti-inflammatories during the indispensable time when a crisis occurs. ” Infiltrations sometimes help on time. In late stages of the disease, and if conservative treatment has failed, the prosthesis is the definitive treatment.” In addition, “an adequate diet with sufficient supply of nutrients, minerals and vitamins, daily exercise appropriate to your abilities, and regular medical check-ups are habits to keep in mind,” adds Cugat.
Arthritis, from inflammation to the prosthesis
The arthritis rheumatoid is the paradigm of inflammatory diseases, affecting many organs simultaneously, than joints. They are defined by an autoimmunity problem that, if not treated properly, can quickly destroy the joint. Those who suffer from it are the focus of rheumatology. Sanz explains that “they present with pain, inflammation and numbness that takes a long time to improve ‘with warming up’, once the patient starts up. With the new treatments, they are controlled very well and rarely should we treat sooner than expected these patients. The usual thing is to find them in consultations at advanced ages to assess the placement of a total knee prosthesis. ”
The growing need to remain active and with a good quality of life until advanced ages motivates the implantation of prostheses among the elderly when conservative treatment fails and the knee is worn out. “With new advances in design, it has been possible to extend its use to cases of people not so old, in which the destruction of the joint means that there is no other plausible alternative for treatment, for example, in people with knee osteoarthritis due to a traffic accident. Although the pain and functionality of the knee will improve, its life expectancy may exceed the useful life of the prosthesis and require replacement at an advanced age, “stresses the expert.