Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Are you OA?
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease which is one of the leading causes of disability amongst elderly men and women.
At the World Arthritis Day forum today though, I found out that this disease is not age specific. Women are more prone to OA and tend to start developing symptoms in their 30s and 40s and worsen as they age. 70% of all OA is knee-related. The risk increases to 57% in those with a past knee injury.
I must confess that my threshold for pain is quite high. I have ignored the aches and pain that come with my running regimen - drills, intervals and distance. It was only last month in Victoria, BC (Canada) when the weather dropped to a chilly 10 degrees Centigrade that I paid attention to my knee. I guess the cold weather affected my knee joint. I was experiencing constant pain, stiffness swelling and limited range of motion. I found it difficult to walk, bend and even, climb up and down the stairs. So, when I arrived home, I immediately headed straight to the hospital to see an orthopedic.
At the clinic, the orthopedic doctor overhead me discussing my ailment to my running coach over the phone. He corrected me and said "you have joint E-ffusion and not I-ffusion. . water on the knee which is actually a symptom of osteoarthritis." He said the cause is repetitive stress or overuse of the knee. He prescribed the following medications: anti-inflmatory (arcoxia), topical cream (V-Gel) and to wrap my knee for 20-minutes with a warm towel twice a day. He also advised to avoid anything strenuous and to specifically stop running. If the swelling does not subside, he recommended to aspirate the knee to remove the excess fluid which he said is better than knee replacement.
Well, I don't like anything invasive so I went to see an alternative, holistic sports doctor, an acupuncturist (Dr. Kit Navaro) who recommended to limit leg exercises to 3x a week and to go back to 'basics'. This means, correct my form and strengthen the leg muscles - knee, calf and hamstrings. He stressed the need to rest in between; meaning, do absolutely nothing. Tomorrow I am seeing a sports rehab doctor, Dr. Bate, who hopefully, will recommend physical therapy.
If all things fail, I found out at the forum that another option is viscosupplementation. This is a procedure that involves the injection of gel-like substance into the knee. The first step is similar to aspirate to remove the diseased joint fluid and then, introduce the gel-like substance. The substance will simulate the synovial fluid to protect the joint by absorbing shocks and lubricating the moving surfaces. The product available in Manila is called Synvisc-One, a USFDA approved injection regimen that provides up to 6 months of knee pain relief. Of course, the procedure requires a prescription from either a rheumatologist or orthopedic.
The upside of this treatment is fast relief lasting from 6 to 12 months. The downside is, it's another botox treatment where you need a shot every six months.