KUALA LUMPUR, Osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease affecting millions worldwide, causes pain, stiffness, and reduced mobility or even disability due to the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in the joints. This condition significantly impacts mobility and quality of life. Consultant Orthopaedic, Trauma, Arthroplasty, and Robotic Surgeon at Sunway Medical Centre Velocity (SMCV), Dr Yuen Jin Chuan said that according to analysis from the Beijing Osteoarthritis Study, Asians, including Malaysians, are more prone to knee OA due to lifestyle factors such as squatting, which can put more stress on the knee joints. Additionally, eating habits, obesity, and work-related activities involving repetitive movements may also influence the prevalence of knee OA among Asians. Dr Yuen also noted that knee OA is the most prevalent form of OA in Malaysia, affecting 10 to 20 per cent of adults, mainly older people. "Ageing, previous joint injuries, and certain health conditions increase the risk of knee OA," he said in a statement to Bernama. "Participating in high-impact sports like running, basketball, and tennis can also increase the risk of knee OA among younger people, as these activities can subject the joints to excessive mechanical loading and repeated strain, causing damage to the cartilage and joints over time. "Additionally, individuals with pre-existing joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, or metabolic diseases such as diabetes are at a heightened risk of developing knee OA," he said. Dr Yuen mentioned that gender and genetics can also contribute to knee OA development. "A family history of joint abnormalities or hypermobility (double-jointedness) could increase one's susceptibility to knee osteoarthritis," he said. Women face a higher risk of knee OA compared to men due to hormonal factors and differences in joint biomechanics. Symptoms to watch out for include knee stiffness, pain while standing or walking short distances, and swelling in the knee joint. To lower the risk of knee OA, Dr Yuen recommended maintaining a healthy weight to alleviate joint strain and incorporating joint-friendly foods such as fish, leafy greens, nuts, and berries into one's diet. "Aside from weight management and a balanced diet, taking supplements such as Omega-3 fatty acids and glucosamine can also help reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis," he said. Dr Yuen emphasised the importance of regular exercise to combat the onset of knee OA. "There is a common misconception that movement worsens osteoarthritis and that less movement is better. 'However, engaging in low-impact activities like swimming, cycling, and yoga can actually help maintain joint flexibility and stability while strengthening the muscles without putting too much strain on them," he said. Dr Yuen also highlighted the significance of small lifestyle changes such as practicing good posture, lifting heavy objects mindfully, and ensuring adequate rest. For treatment options, Dr Yuen said that various treatments for knee OA range f rom surgeries to localised treatments such as medications like chondroitin, steroid and hyaluronic acid injections, as well as radiofrequency ablation-a minimally invasive procedure targeting nerves around the joint. "To manage OA effectively in the long term, total knee replacement (TKR) surgery is an available solution when localised treatment is no longer effective. This can provide patients suffering from severe knee OA with long-term relief and improved joint function," he said. He also added that another surgical option for knee OA patients is MAKO robotic-assisted surgery, which uses the MAKO Robotic machine and that this technology provides precise and customised operations based on a patient-specific plan created by its 3D imaging system. According to Dr Yuen, MAKO robotic-assisted surgery offers significant advantages over conventional total knee replacement (TKR) surgery. Conventional TKR can alter the kinematics of normal knee alignment, potentially compromising joint function and in contrast, MAKO technology accurately reproduces the natural kinematics of the knee, restoring alignment and enhancing joint performance. He said MAKO technology provides a less invasive surgery, leading to reduced pain levels and recovery time for patients, adding that the robotic arm ensures precise placement of components, reducing the risk of implant failure, complications, and future surgeries. Dr Yuen addressed misconceptions about MAKO technology, such as the belief that the procedure is done entirely by a robot, adding that in reality, doctors control the technology to ensure a precise, personalised surgery with a lower rate of risk. Given the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in Malaysian adults, MAKO robotic-assisted surgery introduces a new era in orthopaedic care, offering a personalised surgical options, minimally invasive procedures, improved outcomes, and quicker recovery. Through MAKO technology, SMCV empowers patients to regain mobility and improve their quality of life and this innovation prom ises a bright future for knee OA treatment with revolutionary procedures and enhanced patient care. Source: BERNAMA News Agency