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Question:

How usual is knee pain in older people?
What treatment for strained knee ligaments?

Alfred


Answer:

Dear Alfred,

Many older people are troubled by chronic knee pain.
Older people with knee pain also have pain in other joints.

Some common knee problems are:

Sprained or strained knee ligaments and/or muscles. Symptoms often include pain, swelling, and difficulty in walking.

Torn cartilage.
Cartilage tears can often occur with sprains. Treatment may involve wearing a brace during an activity to protect the knee from further injury. Surgery may be needed to repair the tear.

Tendonitis.
Inflammation of the tendons may result from overuse of a tendon during certain activities such as running, jumping, or cycling.

Arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis that affects the knee.

If initial treatment methods do not provide relief, and x-rays show destruction of the joint, the orthopedist may recommend total joint replacement for the knee.

Treatment for strained knee ligaments will vary according to which ligaments you have damaged and how badly. It will also depend on how much sport you do. If you don't put much demand on your knee, resting it and following a program of strengthening physiotherapy exercises may be sufficient.

There are some precautions you can take to try to reduce the risk of damaging your knee ligaments.

You should exercise regularly to maintain a good level of fitness. This will mean your muscles are stronger and better able to support your joints, including your knees. If you have not been active for a while, start gently and gradually increase the intensity.

Spend five to 10 minutes warming up before exercising and cooling down afterwards. Stretch out your muscles once they are warmed-up - don't do this while they are cold as you could damage them - and then again after you have cooled down. This reduces the risk of injuring yourself and helps to prevent stiffness later.

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