Joint pain: A rising phenomenon amongst youth, say experts

It is a common perception that joint pain is related to age and is common in the elderly population. But recently, there has been a rise in joint pain among the younger patients. According to experts, the reasons behind this are faulty lifestyle, sports injuries, unsupervised exercises and dietary insufficiency

Joint pain: A rising phenomenon amongst youth, say experts

A 14-year-old, enthusiastic and energetic Leena Shah (name changed) dodged between her school, basketball classes and tuitions. She was the school basketball team leader and was soon going to play at the district in the coming months. But there was a striking pain in her calf-muscle and bilateral knee-pain, something that wouldn’t go in spite of multiple medications from many doctors. Finally, the Shah’s came to The Knee Clinic in Mumbai.

“Shah had come with all her reports from an x-ray to body check-up which were normal. That’s when I realised that she would be suffering from Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), which is becoming very common in young girls, specifically from the age group of 10 years to 17 years. This is primarily due to excessive activities and lifestyle changes in the present times,” said Dr Miten Sheth, consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at The Knee Clinic, Mumbai as well as member of Bombay Orthopaedic Society.

“Every month, I get about 10 young girls who suffer from the same. Strenuous activity and lack of rest is a major cause of this. Hence, when we had to cure Shah’s problem, we asked her to stop playing basketball for three months and advised her to take physiotherapy. No surgery or treatment can treat this either,” he added.

Drastic lifestyle changes that include lack of rest and unhealthy sleep cycles lead to muscular imbalances, which could cause joint pain. “The rise of joint pain among youngsters is because of drastic change in lifestyle, increase of contact sports, unsupervised exercises and dietary insufficiency. Furthermore, joint degeneration occurs in young individuals through damage to Articular Cartilage. This type of damage is more in younger age groups as they neglect the pain due the hectic work schedules and have a raised pain bearing threshold. This is the reason for increase in the number of joint replacements amongst younger age groups,” said Dr Pramod Bhor, Joint Replacement Surgeon at Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi.

Reasons for the rising joint pain amongst youngsters:

  • Drastic change in lifestyle
  • Increase of contact sports
  • Unsupervised exercises
  • dietary insufficiency
  • Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS)

How to treat PFPS?

  • Exercise well, but with consultation of a doctor
  • Ask a Physiotherapist for a customized fitness plan for your joints.
  • Strengthening exercises aim to improve the strength and tone of the muscles that control the joints, and therefore will protect and keep the joint more stable.
  • Eat right.
  • Self-massaging can be of great help, if done under supervision.
  • Rest: PFPS could be treated by resting that will reduce the strenuous workload on the muscles.