Osteoporosis refers to thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density over time. Menopause often leads to reduced bone density making bones soft and hence more prone to wear and tear. Women generally skip take calcium and vitamin D supplements. This makes osteoporosis go from bad to worse with age.
The second prime reason is that the domestic duties (often performed by women, especially on the floor) put more pressure on their knees). Reports confirm that women work three times more than men.
Obesity is another major cause for the increasing cases of total knee replacement among women, especially for those above the age of 45. Every kilogram of weight that one gains exerts three to four kilograms of pressure on the knees.
In India, women are fed with a rich diet during pregnancy for the sake of a healthy baby. They are unable to shed this gain ever and get caught in the vicious cycle. They face difficulty in exercising because of excess weight. This further increases the body weight.
Here’s more, rheumatoid arthritis, which is more dangerous than osteoarthritis, affects women more than men.
Who should go for total knee replacement?
For women suffering with severe or end-stage arthritis, walking short distances and performing daily activities becomes an ordeal. They experience unbearable pain, limp and are dependent on painkillers.
If nonsurgical treatments like medications and using walking supports are no longer helpful, you may want to consider total knee replacement surgery, and be able to not just stand, walk, climb stairs, or drive, but also engage in light sports like swimming or golf. Most women having undergone TKR are able to walk from the very next day of their surgery with the help of a walker. They are discharged from the hospital within 4 to 5 days of the surgery and require no help at home. Activities like cooking, shopping, going to office etc., can be started within 4 to 6 weeks of the surgery.
The decision to have total knee replacement surgery should be taken by you in consultation with your family, family physician, and orthopaedic surgeon. Your physician may refer you to an orthopaedic surgeon for a thorough evaluation to determine if you might benefit from this surgery.
(Dr Parag Munshi and Dr Vaibhav Kosodekar are orthopedic surgeons at Bombay Hospital and Fortis Hospital, Mahim, respectively.)