Many Indians put away treating orthopedic problems

Studies indicate that knee pain is the most common bone problem in India

While India has witnessed an increase in life expectancy thanks to advances in medical science and technology, what is also increasing is the number of people leading sedentary lifestyles and eating food that is unhealthy. All this has contributed to an increase in the number of obesity cases and as a natural corollary, given a rise to orthopedic problems. Knee pain seems to be the most common problem.

Other kind of problems experienced by people include shoulder and hip pain. However, joint pain can affect any part of the body -- from the ankles and feet to shoulders and hands. Joint pain could be due to age-related osteoarthritis or auto-immune rheumatoid arthritis or injury to the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said:

Indians are genetically predisposed to osteoarthritis. Lack of exercise and an unhealthy lifestyle have further exacerbated this situation. Orthopedic problems not only cause joint pain but also restrict mobility. This makes it difficult for those with these conditions to perform even daily normal tasks including walking and working in the kitchen. People with joint pain need to follow a strict daily routine to keep their condition under control and minimize pain and discomfort. By maintaining an ideal body weight and following an active lifestyle, it is possible to avoid orthopedic problems. While one cannot stop the process of aging, it is possible to prevent the chances of acquiring joint pains through certain lifestyle changes.

Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking can affect bone health adversely. It is also imperative to check weight gain as this can accelerate the damage and eventually lead to significant bone loss.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal who is also Group Editor of IJCP, said:

Joint and back pains are considered as part of the normal aging process in our country. Thus, many people tend to go for quick fixes such as analgesics or some pain-relieving balms instead of getting proper diagnosis and treatment; or even finding out the underlying cause of the condition. This makes the situation worse.

Here are some things one can follow to maintain bone health.

  • Consume foods rich in calcium such as Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese. Those with lactose intolerance can opt for non-dairy sources of calcium such as leafy green vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds.
  • It is important to get enough Vitamin D as it helps in the absorption of calcium. Some sources of this vitamin include milk, fortified orange juice, mushrooms, and egg yolk.
  • Get enough physical activity for about 30 minutes each day. There are exercises that can help increase bone strength and improve balance and coordination.
  • Limit the intake of caffeine as this can decrease the absorption of calcium
  • If you smoke or drink, it is a good idea to quit both these habits.
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