The knee is the biggest joint in the body and supports most of the body weight while running and walking. Since it endures most of the stress, it is susceptible to deterioration and injuries. Many individuals over 45 years old can report some form of knee pain and the potential increases with age. Various knee problems that the elderly experience start with poor muscle development or lack of stretching that begins at 50 years old.
Oftentimes called as degenerative arthritis, this condition is quite common among individuals over 50 years old and the incidence increases as an individual approaches 70 years old. Osteoarthritis is known to trigger various degrees of pain while walking or standing.
Many individuals can end up with stiffness, inflammation and popping or squeaking sounds from the knee. In most circumstances, there is also diminished degree of flexibility in the knee joint in which the range of motion is affected. Take note that these are symptoms of the breakdown in the cartilage of the knee that occurs with overuse and increasing age.
The bursae are small-sized sacs of fluid that cushion the exterior of the knee joint so that the ligaments and tendons glide smoothly over the joint. Due to repeated injury or increasing age, the bursae can become inflamed and lead to the development of knee problems.
Damage to the bursae is common when an individual strikes the knee against a hard object. The symptoms of this condition include swelling, warmth, tenderness, aching and pain at rest and climbing up or going down the stairs. Once an infection is present, fever can also develop.
The menisci are C-shaped discs that support the fit between the large thigh bone and the shin bone. It is responsible for distributing the weight and absorbs the shock during running or walking. A torn meniscus might be due to degeneration or injury. Since the meniscus does not have a blood supply, recovery from this injury can be difficult. The degenerative tears to the meniscus are linked with the breakdown of collagen fibers in the meniscus among the elderly.
One of the common knee problems among the elderly is tendinitis. This involves inflammation of the tendons that hold the patella in place. If an individual has tendinitis, he/she can experience pain either below or above the kneecap. The form of tendinitis that typically affects individuals over 35 years old is situated above the kneecap. This condition can be aggravated if the gluteal muscles are weak or the hips are stiff. Remember that both can add more strain on the knee joint and quite common among the elderly who do not spend time on stretching.
Chondromalacia patella is also one of the common knee problems among the elderly. This develops as a result of arthritis in the kneecap which triggers pain and tenderness at the front aspect of the knee while sitting for extended periods of time, getting up from a chair or climbing up stairs. The individual can also experience a grinding or grating sensation when the knee is extended or straightened.