What is the prevalence of knee and joint conditions in the UAE?
Knee Pain is one of the most common complaints these days among people of all age groups. Every individual experiences this issue at some point in their life. The level of pain also varies in each individual. For some, the pain may be so extreme that it limits daily activities and in others, it may not be as severe and may not be so much of a hindrance in their daily life. In both cases, what people fail to realize is that they are dealing with a condition that needs to be attended to and not ignored at all.
In your opinion, what are the main causes of these problems?
Knee pain is a very common issue that can happen at either the knee joint, the knee cap or the ligaments of the knee. There is not just one particular reason for the cause of knee pain because the knee has various parts. It could be caused due to physical injuries that occurred during some physical activity, continuous injury, a mechanical problem like dislocation of the knee cap, obesity or because of a certain condition like arthritis. Arthritis is a very common cause of knee pain which is further divided into different kinds like Septic Arthritis caused by a bacteria attacking the joint, Post-traumatic Arthritis which may develop years after having a knee injury etc. Most of the time body movements do not pose a problem but constant wear and tear or injury are what leads to severe pain. The knee is the largest joint in the body. The bones inside the knee joint are covered by an articular cartilage which provides a smooth gliding surfacing for joint movements. When any of this is disturbed the body reacts in the form of pain.
Does the lack of exposure to sun rays and vitamin D deficiency play a role in the prevalence of knee and joint conditions?
Vitamin D is extremely necessary for the body to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Deficiency of Vitamin D results in soft and fragile bones in children which lead to rickets causing bowed legs and other skeletal deformities whereas in adults misshapen bones leads to a condition called Osteomalacia. Vitamin D deficiency also causes a lot of other health problems including obesity. Since knee and joint conditions are prevalent in people of all ages, the amount of Vitamin D requirement also varies. Aged people need more Vitamin D than the younger ones, dark-skinned people need more than the fair skinned, overweight people also need it more. Vitamin D is not a vitamin because a vitamin is something our body cannot make and hence needs to be provided by something we eat or with supplements. Our body can make Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. People with very low Vitamin D are more likely to develop bone or joint pains. Rickets, Osteomalacia, and Osteoporosis are the most common bone disorders found in adults. Osteomalacia is caused by a defect in the bone-building process and Osteoporosis results from the weakening of a previously constructed bone.
How many patients visit Aster Hospital for these types of consultations? And what is the percentage of these patients who undergo surgical procedures?
Aster provides comprehensive Orthopedic care including surgical and non-surgical care. We are equipped with state of the art equipment and procedures and offer advanced procedures in various fields to give our patients the best treatment. Aster has a number of experienced and respected orthopedic specialists who have to their credit the knowledge and expertise in their field.
What are the precautionary measures to avoid knee and joint injuries?
Staying physically active and keeping the body fit is the best way to avoid the risk of knee pain or injury. However, in certain cases, knee problems caused by a particular activity or by accident cannot be avoided as they can’t be foreseen. There are certain preventive measures that can be taken to avoid any serious knee or joint issue. Firstly, being healthy by eating a balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight to avoid excess stress on the knee. Secondly, always wearing sensible shoes that fit perfectly and offer the right kind of support because this helps maintain the leg alignment when walking. Wearing insoles in shoes to maintain a balanced body posture is also advisable. These are two things that people generally tend to ignore because they don’t realize how wearing the right fit shoe helps avoid serious consequences. Stretching the thigh muscles before beginning an activity reduces tension on the tendons and relieves pressure on the knee during the activity. Certain exercise routines can be followed that aid in strengthening the leg muscles. Taking the stairs up is a very good practice, riding a bicycle is a good way to make the leg muscles stronger. Weights are also a way to strengthen the leg muscles supporting the knee but these workouts need to be done under the supervision of a trainer. Sudden change in workout routines should be avoided, the intensity and duration of the activity should always be changed with a gradual build up. Opting for workouts that are strong but of low impact to the knee is recommended. A physiotherapist should be consulted for exercises.
What are the symptoms that patients need to be aware of that call for consulting a specialist?
Knee Pain that is caused as a result of a strenuous activity and that is usual could be managed at home itself or one that is caused because of a minor injury could be self- observed for a day or two and then the required steps can be taken. However, if you are suffering from extreme pain it is better to seek medical help. When unsure of whether or not to consult a doctor, some symptoms that need to be taken into consideration are continuous pain that lasts for days or weeks, any form of swelling or redness around the knee, any feeling of instability in the joints, acute injuries discomfort or difficulty in walking etc. On experiencing any of these symptoms it is best to consult an orthopedic specialist who as per diagnosis will suggest the necessary treatment.
UAE residents and medical tourists complain of the high costs associated with orthopedic surgery especially if they do not have insurance. What is your comment on that? (Might be good to highlight that Aster provides affordable high-quality health care which is in line with the group’s vision.)
The Department of Orthopaedics at Aster Hospital is a state-of-the-art facility offering comprehensive care to patients of all ages. We have an exceptional team of doctors comprising orthopedic surgeons and physical medicine experts who have the experience and expertise to handle various cases and are supported by specialty-trained nurses, patient counselors and physical rehabilitation therapists. They follow international treatment protocols to ensure optimal, evidence-based care to patients, at affordable prices as compared to the other hospitals in Dubai.
Orthopedic surgery procedures performed in Aster Hospital are cost effective compared to the surgery cost in other developed nations. Besides the cost, patients save time and getting the treatment is very convenient and fast. Countries that operate public health-care systems, such as Canada, U.S., and the U.K. often have long waiting periods for certain operations.
Aster DM Healthcare is committed to providing world-class Healthcare, at affordable costs. Lack of insurance cover or its limitations is faced by citizens in all countries. Patients are finding that insurance either does not cover orthopedic surgery (such as knee or hip replacement), or limits the choice of the facility, surgeon, or prosthetics to be used.
Does Aster Hospital provide attractive healthcare packages that encourage medical tourism?
Aster Hospital offers comprehensive treatment plans and wellness packages for patients that are coming from other countries. The packages have detailed inclusions and exclusions, making it easy for medical tourists to select a treatment that is suited to their budget. To further assist overseas medical tourists, we assist with travel requirements including visa requirements (if needed) and the option of booking both hotel stays and return flights. Patients can Skype with our doctors and discuss their treatment plans before they plan their travel. On arrival, a representative of the team will receive the patient at the Airport and we provide transport to Hospital or Hotel as per the admission plan. A Guest Relation Executive will complete formalities like registration, admission and signing of the consent forms and so on. Interpretation and translation services are also available on request. Post treatment, patients can keep in touch with our medical team for follow-up once they are back in their country.
Knee and joint pain is now common among the youth as well and is not restricted to the elderly, what are the causes for this?
Knee pain is very generic, it doesn’t limit itself to people of a particular age. Knee and joint pain are rather common among the youth because of various underlying reasons. A lot of young individuals who are involved in any form of physical activity or those who are very actively involved in sports suffer from knee and joint pain. The pain will be experienced gradually and will flare up on repeated flexing on the knee. In such cases the causes may be inappropriate training (gym) techniques or excess sports activities, ignoring certain injuries leaving them to recover on their own, inflexibility of the thigh muscles supporting knee movement etc. There are also other causes for knee pain in teenagers and young adults. In today’s day and age, children prefer to stay at home and watch TV or play on their mobiles rather than going out for some physical activity which leads to obesity. An inactive lifestyle is a core contributor to aches and pain. Physical demands at home and work have become lesser owing to technological advancements and conveniences.
Dr. Ranjith Narayan
Orthopaedic Specialist, Aster Hospital