Knee Arthritis Epidemic in India
A few decades ago, knee arthritis was confined to a particular age group or a limited number of people in India. However, lately, precisely in the 21st century, the seemingly insignificant problem progressed into an epidemic affecting millions of people. In 2019, around 15 crore people were said to be suffering from knee arthritis. Four crores out of them required a total knee replacement. The situation is critical and demands immediate attention!
Experts predict arthritis, especially knee arthritis, to emerge as the fourth most common cause of physical disability in India. The number of people suffering from arthritis is much more than those in western nations. It is believed that the rising number of cases will put pressure on the country’s healthcare services, especially considering the dearth of orthopedic experts and the treatment infrastructure in the country.
Reasons for Knee Arthritis in India
Knee arthritis has become a common occurrence in India. However, why did the condition spread as much? Is it the lifestyle of Indians responsible for the rapid spread of knee arthritis, or is the onus on typical Indian habits? In reality, both these reasons are equally responsible. Let’s look at a few ones.
- Increased life expectancy, which has almost doubled since independence
- The lifestyle that results in overuse of knee joints
- Activities such as squatting and habits such as sitting cross-legged
- Use of improper footwear, resulting in overuse and strain on the knee joint
- Standing for long periods
- Obesity and poor nutrition (especially in females)
- The use of deep water containing heavy metals and high fluoride levels, resulting in fluorosis and bone hardening
Common Types of Arthritis in India
In India, the most common type of arthritis is age-related degenerative arthritis. It involves the degeneration of cartilage and affects the knee joint. The onset of knee arthritis is earlier in females than in males. The average age of the beginning of knee problems in females in India is 50. On the other hand, the average age in males is 60. In women, in addition to obesity and poor nutrition, factors such as the deficiency of vitamin D (which plays a crucial role in controlling bone metabolism) also contribute to the onset and progression of knee arthritis.
Challenges in Arthritis Treatment
The most significant challenge in treating arthritis is the lack of infrastructure, which is, in a particular way, also associated with the financial capacity of many Indians who suffer from knee arthritis.
Besides, NPPA (National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority) has capped the price of many implant types. While this is beneficial for patients from a cost perspective, it makes foreign implant manufacturers (who fear losses due to the price capping) hesitant in supplying top-quality implants to India. Schemes such as Ayushmaan Bharat can make a difference, provided the reimbursement is good enough to cover the implant cost.
Knee Arthritis Preventive Measures and Early Treatment
Knee arthritis shows early symptoms such as pain, stiffness and noise in the joints. The condition steadily progresses to restricted physical movements and, in some cases, deformities. One must be attentive towards these signs and treat knee arthritis in its early stages. Some of the treatment options include physiotherapy, analgesics, intra-articular injections and activities like swimming, cycling and quadriceps exercises.
But prevention is the best alternative. Some changes in lifestyle and habits can help. For instance, avoiding sitting cross-legged, squatting, prolonged standing, use of Indian toilets, etc., are a few preventive measures. Additionally, including the right nutrients and foods rich in calcium, protein, seasonal vegetables and fruits, based on their suitability in your case, can help strengthen joints and keep knee arthritis at bay.
Treat Knee Arthritis with Ranka Hospitals
Ranka Hospitals contributes in its way to help treat patients suffering from knee arthritis. Accordingly, the hospital leverages the state-of-the-art infrastructure for diagnosis, treatment and post-operative care.
It employs a team of orthopedic consultants and surgeons to provide the most appropriate advice on knee arthritis treatment after a thorough diagnosis of the patient’s condition.
Ignoring early-stage knee arthritis signs can prove a crucial concern in the long run. Don’t live with the pain. Connect with Ranka Hospital at 020 2426 1600 for orthopedic appointments.