Bupa research released today has laid bare the sorry state of Britain’s knees – with 1 in 4 Britons stating they have suffered from knee pain in the last year and 81% of sufferers currently in pain. A third (34%) of those currently in pain have suffered for over five years, while more than two fifths (42%) of those who have suffered in the last year have opted not to see their GP about the problem; in 30% of cases the reason given for not seeing a GP was the belief that ‘nothing can be done’ about their condition. The research also highlights the dissatisfaction amongst a significant number of knee pain sufferers about the potential treatment options made available to them. Of those who did go to see their GP, only 1 in 3 agreed they were offered a good choice of treatments.
Dr Tom Crisp, Bupa Musculoskeletal Clinical Director, commented “It’s clear that a lack of awareness of all the options open to patients is preventing many from seeking and receiving the treatment they need. There are now many different ways to treat knee pain – from physio and lifestyle changes, such as exercise and improved diet, through to podiatry and injections – and most people will be able to find a solution that works for them.
If patients are better informed about their treatment options, they will have a much more constructive conversation with their GP and will ultimately have better outcomes”.
To address the problem, Bupa has created a new online Knee Clinic for both members and non-members, a website offering information and advice about the variety of treatment options available for different knee conditions and general preventative tips, including how to keep knees healthy day-to-day.
Former England cricket captain Michael Vaughan, who was forced to retire from the sport following a succession of knee injuries, backed the launch of the Bupa Knee Clinic “It is so important that people understand their options when it comes to treating knee pain and that they’re not suffering in silence. Throughout my career, I made sure I was kept fully informed about my injuries and the different treatment options – choosing the ones that were most appropriate for me and understanding the impact they’d have on my life and my cricket. It means that I’m confident enough to know that, for now, I can keep my knees healthy through exercise and diet, without resorting to surgery”.
The survey also revealed that knee pain affects people of all ages across all walks of life – not just the elderly or professional sportspeople.
1 in 5 (19%) of those between the ages of 25 and 34 reported suffering knee pain in the last year. Amongst all those suffering from knee pain in the last 12 months, day-to-day activities such as walking (18%) or going up or down stairs (17%) were identified as more common causes of knee pain than a specific sporting activity such as running (11%) or football (8%).
Dr Tom Crisp, added “There is a misconception that knee problems only affect the old or the very sporty. In fact, knee pain symptoms can be triggered by a whole range of daily activities. Because of this, if left untreated, knee pain can have a huge impact on people’s lives”.