Joint pain is no more an affliction of only the elderly; of late, youngsters too are increasingly susceptible to it. A sedentary lifestyle is causing people in the prime of youth – aged 25-50 years – fall prey to joint-related ailments. According to doctors, in the last few months, of the more than 300 to 350 patients visiting the orthopaedic OPDs at state-run hospitals with complaints of joint, back and neck pain, at least four to five range in age from 35 to 50 years.
Health experts have attributed this phenomenon to a sedentary lifestyle and a post-pandemic implication.
People from age 20-40 complaining over joint pain issues
According to officials from the civic health department, a majority of seniors seek treatment for joint pain and discomfort every year. “Currently, however, along with those recovering from Covid-19, young adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s are also complaining of joint pain, because of working from home and consuming a diet high in fat and sugar.
The symptoms are swollen, red and tender joints, constant pain and fever. 15-20 per cent of young patients suffer from joint pain in their early 40s,” said an orthopaedist at a state-run hospital.
Those with previous joint injury, using and/ or overusing a muscle, sufferers of arthritis, depression, anxiety, stress, excess weight and those having overall poor health are at risk of joint pain.
What do experts say?
Dr Eknath Pawar, HoD, orthopaedic department, J J Hospital, said bone problems were on the rise among young people. “Most youths are spending increased amounts of time in front of the computer in the office. In the process, bad posture can increase back pain, the risk of obesity and neck diseases. Some injuries can be cured with physiotherapy. Moreover, the cause for the joint pain can be attributed to heavy physical activity or even sprains. Over a period of time, when the bones deteriorate, it can invite several conditions like rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition) and osteoporosis (a common bone disease, wherein the body loses bone, makes little of it, or both),” Dr Pawar explained.
“The percentage of young adults with joint pain is increasing day by day. Women are more commonly affected than men. It is seen that two or three of the patients who come to the OPD every day are suffering from joint pain. Until a few years ago, most arthritis patients were above the age of 45. Now, a patient could be as young as 16. A lot of working professionals in their thirties are coming to us with complaints of pain and stiffness in their joints,” he said.
Deficiency of vitamins can be a possible cause of joint related issues
Underlying issues such as deficiency of Vitamin B12 and calcium can cause joint deformities if overlooked. “We have seen 30 patients in the last two or three months, suffering from joint pain, with 60 per cent of them being women – all between 25 and 40 years of age. Joint pain can be caused due to bursitis and viral infections. A rash or fever may make joint movement painful. Injuries, inflammation of the tendons and hypothyroidism could be possible reasons, too. Sometimes, the problem also occurs due to the side effects of certain medications,” the surgeon said.
However, the most common cause of joint pain is osteoarthritis, which is seen when the cartilage, the protective cushion in between the bones, wears away. The joints become painful and stiff. Rheumatoid arthritis causes swelling and pain in the joints. Often, the joints become deformed (mainly in the fingers and wrists).
“Gout is a condition wherein uric acid crystals from the body accumulate in the joints, causing severe pain and swelling. This is seen in the big toe. Many youngsters are obese, don’t get enough Vitamin D from the sun and are then subject to joint pain. The commonest cause of joint pains in today’s youth is a deficiency of Vitamins D3 and B12. Calcium levels are always normal in most of these individuals. Even before starting an exercise routine, get tested for calcium, Vitamins D3 and B12. If there is no deficiency, then there is no need to supplement,” a health expert advised.
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