In this section we have taken time to include detailed answers to common questions and concerns often expressed by new patients. Can't find the answers you were looking for below? Alternatively you can email your question to: drharpal@gmail.com
What Is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a joint disease that mostly affects cartilage. Cartilage is the slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint. Healthy cartilage allows bones to glide over each other. It also helps absorb shock of movement. In osteoarthritis, the top layer of cartilage breaks down and wears away. This allows bones under the cartilage to rub together. The rubbing causes pain, swelling, and loss of motion of the joint. Over time, the joint may lose its normal shape. Also, bone spurs may grow on the edges of the joint. Bits of bone or cartilage can break off and float inside the joint space, which causes more pain and damage.

People with osteoarthritis often have joint pain and reduced motion. Unlike some other forms of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects only joints and not internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis - the second most common form of arthritis - affects other parts of the body besides the joints. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis.
Who Gets Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs most often in older people. Younger people sometimes get osteoarthritis primarily from joint injuries.
What Causes Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis usually happens gradually over time. Some risk factors that might lead to it include:

  • Being overweight
  • Getting older
  • Joint injury
  • Joints that are not properly formed
  • A genetic defect in joint cartilage
  • Stresses on the joints from certain jobs and playing sports.
How Is Osteoarthritis Diagnosed?
Osteoarthritis can occur in any joint. It occurs most often in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Warning signs of osteoarthritis are:

  • Stiffness in a joint after getting out of bed or sitting for a long time
  • Swelling or tenderness in one or more joints
  • A crunching feeling or the sound of bone rubbing on bone.

No single test can diagnose osteoarthritis. Most doctors use several methods to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems:

  • Medical history
  • Physical exam
  • X rays
  • Other tests such as blood tests or exams of the fluid in the joints.
How Is Osteoarthritis Treated?
Doctors often combine treatments to fit a patient's needs, lifestyle, and health. Osteoarthritis treatment has four main goals:

  • Improve joint function
  • Keep a healthy body weight
  • Control pain
  • Achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis treatment plans can involve:

  • Exercise
  • Weight control
  • Rest and joint care
  • Nondrug pain relief techniques to control pain
  • Medicines
  • Complementary and alternative therapies
  • Surgery.
How Can Self-Care and a "Good-Health Attitude" Help?
Three kinds of programs help people learn about osteoarthritis and self-care and improve their good-health attitude:

  • Patient education programs
  • Arthritis self-management programs
  • Arthritis support groups.

These programs teach people about osteoarthritis and its treatments. They also have clear and long-lasting benefits.People in these programs learn to:

  • Exercise and relax
  • Talk with their doctor or other health care providers
  • Solve problems.

People with osteoarthritis find that self-management programs help them:

  • Understand the disease
  • Reduce pain while staying active
  • Cope with their body, mind, and emotions
  • Have more control over the disease
  • Live an active, independent life.

People with a good-health attitude:

  • Focus on what they can do, not what they can't do
  • Focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses
  • Break down activities into small tasks that are easy to manage
  • Build fitness and healthy eating into their daily routines
  • Develop ways to lower and manage stress
  • Balance rest with activity
  • Develop a support system of family, friends, and health care providers.
Which joints are affected by Osteoarthritis?
Typical joints include the hips,knees,the joints in the fingers,and the base of the thubs and toes.
How will knee replacement help you?
Knee replacement can improve your quality-of-life. After knee replacement you will have less pain and greater mobility. You will be able to perform daily tasks and low impact activities more easily.
Knee replacement will help you to lead a more comfortable and independent life.
Your quality-of-life will improve, when there is no chronic and debilitating pain. Moreover, you will be able to increase your range of knee joint.
What is the significance of the recommended medication?
You should continue to take the prescribed medications.
You will be recommended to take antibiotics before, during and after the surgical procedure. This is to prevent any infection of the operated site.
Your pain medication will help you be comfortable after surgery.
After the surgery many of the patients develop blood clots, hence doctors recommend blood thinning medication called anticoagulation medication. To prevent complication due to the formation of the blood clot you may have to take this medication for sometime after surgery. You should follow your doctor's recommendations for the prescribed duration when blood thinning medications are given.
What are the recovery measures in the hospitals?
After knee surgery, you will have to stay in the hospital for several days. During your hospital stay you will be helped by your healthcare team on the road to recovery.
  • You may experience some pain during the recovery period. If the pain after surgery is severe, talk to your doctor.
  • Movement of the joint is important for its recovery. Walking will help you to recover. Light exercises should begin immediately after your surgery.
  • It is advisable to breathe deeply and cough frequently to clear your lungs and avoid lung congestion after surgery.
  • After surgery you will be given medicines called blood thinners that will prevent clots fromation, this is important since clots in the blood vessels can be dangerous. Other measures to prevent blood clots and decrease leg swelling include special support hose and inflatable leg coverings(compression boots)
  • You will also be asked to exercise while sitting or lying on the bed. These exercises will help to restore knee and leg movements. Exercises decrease the leg swelling and improve your blood circulation while you are in bed.
What are Do's and Don'ts during your recovery ?
Things you should do
  • Keep the wound area clean and dry.
  • If your wound appears red or begins to drain, inform your doctor.
  • Check your temperature regularly and inform your doctor if it exceeds 38oC
  • If you observe a swelling, elevate your leg slightly with a support and apply ice-packs over the swelling intermittently.
  • Inform your doctor immediately if you have calf pain, chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • Do mild exercises(physical therapy), beginning 48 hours after surgery.
  • Practise/initiate regular walking using a walker or crutches.
  • Perform exercises to strengthen thigh and calf muscles.
Things you should not do
  • Do not play high impact sports.
  • Do not jog, run or jump. This will prevent loosening of the implant.
  • Avoid gaining weight, as it can hasten wear and tear of the implant.
  • Do not shower or bathe until the sutures are removed. This may take a week to 10 days after surgery.
What are the various exercises suggested after knee surgery?
Physical Therapy exercises
  • Continue to exercise as instructed by your physiotherapist or doctor for at least 2 months after surgery.
  • Riding a stationary bicycle can help maintain muscle tone and keep your knee flexible.
  • Try to achieve a maximum possible degree of bending and extension, without discomfort.
  1. Swimming
    • Swimming improves muscles strength and endurance without exerting any pressure or stress on the replaced joint. You can start swimming once the sutures have been removed and the wound is healed. This will take about 6 to 8 weeks after surgery.
    • Activities generally recommended by doctors after knee replacement surgery include walking, cycling (on level surfaces) and all low impact exercises.
  2. Straight leg raises
    • While lying on bed tighten the thigh muscle with your knee fully straightened on the bed. Lift your leg several inches. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds, and lower your leg slowly.
    • Leg raises can also be done while sitting on a chair. Sit on ac chair, tighten your thigh muscle and hold your knee fully straightened with your leg unsupported.
  3. Ankle pumps
    • Move your foot up and down rhythmically, by contracting the calf and shin muscles. Do this exercise periodically for 2 to 3 minutes, two or three times an hour.
  4. Bed-supported knee bends
    • Lie down flat on the bed. Bend your knee as much as possible while sliding your foot towards your thigh. Hold your knee in a maximally bent position for 5 to 10 seconds and then straighten your leg.

Advanced exercises and activities

The muscles of your affected leg become weak due to lack of activity before and after surgery. Exercises will help you strengthen your muscles. You make take months to fully recover. These exercises well help you recover faster.

  1. Standing knee bends
    • Stand erect with the aid of a walker or crutches, lift your thigh and bend your knee as much as you can. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Then straighten your knee, touching the floor with your heel first. Repeat this exercise as many times as possible.
  2. Knee exercises with resistance
    • Resistance exercises usually can be started 4 to 6 weeks after your surgery. The knee exercise with resistance can be repeated with light weights around the ankle.
    • Use one-to two-pound weights at first; gradually increase the weight as your strength returns.