- Almost a quarter of workers aged 16 to 65 surveyed said they have been living with pain for up to two years
- Obesity, the rise of the internet and desk based jobs have been blamed for the latest in a line of joint ailments
PUBLISHED: 10:09 EST, 20 November 2012 | UPDATED: 10:23 EST, 20 November 2012
More than a quarter of UK workers are suffering from painful knee joints, it has been revealed.
And surgeons and physiotherapists say that rising levels of obesity and desk-based jobs across all age groups are to blame.
Those over the age of 55 suffer the most, with one in ten questioned by healthcare provider Nuffield Health claiming they are in constant pain.
And almost a quarter of 1,600 workers aged 16 to 65 surveyed said they have been living with pain for up to two years.
Sammy Margo, a spokesperson for the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said the rise of the internet and desk based jobs are to blame for the phenomenon of ‘office knee’.
She said: ‘I have seen a huge surge in the number of people with knee pain and it is down to the sedentary lifestyle people are leading now.
‘It is very much people with desk based jobs, and some of them have been working for ten to 20 years in these roles.
‘I have been a physiotherapist for the past 25 years and in that time we have had the advent of the internet, which has been very much a factor.’
And consultant orthopaedic surgeon Ronan Banim said that surgeons are seeing knees that are ‘literally being crushed’ by excess weight.
He warned that if the levels of obesity continue to increase, the number of people who need knee replacements is likely to ‘go through the roof.’
He said: ‘If levels of obesity continue to rise the number of people needing knee replacements is likely go through the roof. In clinics we are seeing knees that are literally being crushed by excess weight.
‘This puts pressure on joints and can increase the long-term risk of osteoarthritis.
‘Weight control, regular, careful, exercise and healthy eating are extremely important.
‘Although knee pain may not life threatening, if left untreated it can seriously impact on quality of life.
‘Patients should seek early treatment and, where necessary, consider losing just a small amount of weight as this could rule out the need for future surgery.’
But before you lace up your trainers and hit the road running, surgeons have also issued a warning against sudden exercise.
Mr Banim added: ‘We are seeing a number of older people becoming more active, with activities like marathons and triathlons becoming popular.
‘While this is excellent for maintaining a healthy lifestyle generally, the degenerative problem and pressure on ageing joints can lead to knee problems.
‘It is important that ageing joints are not over used and preparation and rest before and after exercise is vital.’
Dr Sarah Dauncey, medical director at Nuffield Health, added: ‘To minimise the potential risks of getting knee pain, people who are becoming more active should look at pre and post activity warm-ups and downs, wearing good trainers and supporting the joint when exercising.’