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Mamma needed her knees

Gerald W. Deas | 5/16/2012, 5:56 p.m.
Halloween will make your child scream

Well, last Sunday was Mother's Day, but we know mothers need more than a day to be remembered. Every day should be Mother's Day because they have paid their dues.

I grew up in a home where money was scarce but the Holy Spirit was high. My mom had to go out and scrub other folks' floors on her knees. I was a witness to how painful those knees became as years passed due to arthritis related to the kneeling.

There are many folks with occupations that cause trauma to the knees, such as people who install carpets in those beautiful homes, construction workers who have to get down on their knees on concrete, carpenters who lay those beautiful hardwood floors and domestics who clean floors on their knees. It goes on and on. In fact, I think all folks who use their knees in their occupations should have knee insurance and receive compensation when they can no longer kneel to do their jobs.

Arthritis of the knee is not only due to a medical condition but also may be caused by physical damage, which sets up the condition known as arthritis. For example, workers who are exposed to high-pitched noises may lose their hearing. Those who are exposed to asbestos may develop lung cancer. Folks who use their wrists daily in their employment may develop carpel tunnel syndrome, which is a very painful condition.

The knee is the largest joint in your skeletal system. The entire joint is made up of four bones: the kneecap, the upper thigh bone (femur) and the two upper surfaces of the two lower leg bones, the fibula and the tibia. The lining of the bones that form the knee consists of a thin layer of cartilage, medically known as the meniscus. This cartilage has a very poor blood supply, so when it is injured, it takes a long time to heal. Surrounding the knee joint is a membranous casing known as the bursa, which produces a fluid that lubricates the joint space. This allows a smooth maneuver of bone moving over bone. When the bursa becomes inflamed, doctors refer to this very painful condition as bursitis.

In the movie "The Wizard of Oz," I am sure the scarecrow, the lion and the tin man experienced a great deal of pain in their knees and ankles as they walked and danced along the yellow brick road. I am almost certain that they asked the wizard for pain medication for their sore joints. If he truly were a wizard, he would have warned them that if they must walk for exercise, which, by the way, is the best medicine, they should walk on a softer surface such as soil or grass.

The ankles and knees take a beating when walking or working on hard surfaces like asphalt or concrete. Pressure on any surface is measured by pounds per square inch, and the harder the surface, the greater pressure the joints experience, which leads to damage.

Often, I see young men and ladies running on hard surfaces with bands around their knees. These bands do absolutely nothing to protect the knees. Tennis players should also be careful playing on hard surfaces. Females experience more damage to their knees when playing on hard surfaces than their male counterparts. In fact, female tennis players often injure their anterior cruciate ligament, one of the sustaining structures for knee balance. Also, female basketball players have a great deal of trouble with injuries to their ligaments.

In closing, if you experience sudden injury to a knee and swelling occurs, remember RICE, which stands for "Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation." Most of all, like I would tell my mom today, please take care of your knees and you may not experience that awful disease called arthritis.