Knee pain appears to be a common complaint among middle-aged and elderly women. There are a variety of possible reasons why older women face severe forms of pain and discomfort in the knees. According to a recent study, over 63 percent of women aged 50 and above suffer from knee pain and discomfort at least once or continuously in their life.
In this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment of knee pain in older women.
Causes of Knee Pain in Older Women
Apart from causes such as fractures, dislocations, sprained ligaments, meniscal injuries, and infections, there are other causes for chronic knee pain in older women which are as follows:
- Arthritis: Arthritis is a joint condition that affects people of all ages, and older women in particular. It is usually characterised by joint inflammation or wear and tear, which can cause unbearable pain.
- Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis, often known as degenerative arthritis, is the most common type of arthritis. It’s a wear-and-tear condition in which the cartilage in the knee deteriorates as a result of ageing and usage.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: Rheumatoid arthritis is the most severe kind of arthritis. It is an autoimmune disease that can damage practically any joint in the body, which includes the knees. Although rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic condition, its severity varies which can be diagnosed through a check-up.
- Gout or Pseudogout: Gout is a type of arthritis that happens when uric acid crystals form in the joint. It usually strikes the big toe, although it can also affect the knee as well. Pseudogout is caused by calcium-containing crystals that form in the joint fluid and is frequently mistaken for gout. Knee joints are more commonly affected by pseudogout.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis means a loss of bone mass and strength. The term osteoporosis means porous bone. Women tend to lose a lot of bone mass and strength as they age. It’s a bone-weakening illness that puts people at a higher risk for unexpected bone fractures.
- Bursitis: Bursitis is a painful enlargement of bursa, which is a tiny, fluid-filled sac. These sacs act as a cushion between bone and muscle, tendons, and skin. Bursae reduce friction, rubbing, and irritation by padding these areas. Enlargement of bursa can cause excruciating pain.
Treatments for Knee Pain in Older Women
- Physiotherapy: Working with a physiotherapist can help in restoring knee strength and in reducing pain in the joint. Your doctor may prescribe a certain home-based exercise regime, medicines and ice and compression for quicker recovery.
- Injections: One of the most common injections for knee joint pain is Corticosteroid injection. Such injections can lubricate the joint and provide temporary relief. While the pain can be treated temporarily through these injections, they cannot heal the meniscus tear. Older women should consult with their orthopaedic doctor before going through with any such treatment.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines: Anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help in reducing swelling and cure the pain.
- Knee Surgery: You may resort to surgery if the injury is serious or if symptoms persist even after non-surgical procedures. Depending on your specific condition, you can undergo a partial meniscectomy to treat a meniscal tear or get a complete knee replacement to relieve arthritis joint pain and regain knee function.
Knee pain can be caused by a variety of factors as discussed. If your knee pain is causing you to change the way you live, it is time to visit your doctor. It is important to understand that you do not have to live with knee pain. Your orthopedic doctor can provide you with the right kind of treatment to relieve your knee pain.
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