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Monday, March 08, 2010

Freedom from Pain

A walk to claim victory over joint pain

A walk to claim victory over joint pain >> Link thanks To The Hindu

COIMBATORE: For the second successive year, Ganga Hospital's walkathon to highlight the benefits of joint replacement surgeries saw a determined group of patients demonstrating how they have been helped to overcome pain in the hips or knees that virtually immobilised them for months, years or even decades.

Led by playback singer S.P. Balasubramaniam, hospital Chairman J.G. Shanmughanathan and Directors S. Rajasekaran and S. Rajasabapathy, women and men who had undergone joint replacement operations walked nearly one kilometre from a school to the hospital in the city on Sunday to declare their victory over pain. Managing Director of Sri Krishna Sweets was among the others who took part in the walk that was co-organised by the Rotary Club of Coimbatore Central.


Wearing T-shirts with the following slogans: “Freedom from Pain” and “Dependence to Independence”, the walkers later took part in a lemon and spoon race and a walk race. A woman from Uganda, who underwent surgery only eight days ago, was among the participants, Dr. Rajasekaran said.

The orthopaedic surgeon and president of the Association of Spine Surgeons of India said the Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life-saving Treatment was a boon to arthritis patients who did not have the funds to meet the high cost of knee or hip joint replacement surgeries.

Dr. Rajasekaran said the hospital had so far performed 75 joint replacement surgeries under the scheme. “These patients, who could not dream of undergoing this procedure earlier, have now been cured of their problems with the entire costs met by the Government under the scheme,” he said. Severely deformed knees and hips had been set right. “We have done over 1,000 procedures to fix fractures, joint replacement and spine surgery under this scheme,” he said.

K. Ashok (28), who had suffered a debilitating injury in his right hip, took part in the walk and other events on Sunday. “I was unemployed for a year as I was in bed. I underwent a hip joint replacement only in December and am able to drive a tractor now, thanks to the insurance scheme,” the farm worker said.

S.K. Asok Kumar (42), a technician in a software company, had severe pain in both hip joints. Steroids taken for skin allergy treatment was said to have been the reason. “Now, I can climb stairs and carry out my work,” the beneficiary of the insurance scheme said.

Apart from injuries and drug-induced problems, arthritis was a very crippling problem, Dr. Rajasekaran said.

Alarming evidence

There was evidence to prove that one in five persons above the age of 60 had some form of arthritis.

If not treated, it could worsen to a stage where the patients would be totally dependent on others for mobility and even their daily routine. This, in turn, could cause depression in the patients.

Stating that there were 20 million people in the country with severe arthritis, he said this musculo-skeletal disease could affect even children and adolescents.

Timely and proper treatment could prevent them from being crippled for life.

Apart from the lack of awareness, the lack of access to treatment and the inability to meet the costs were the main reasons for not undergoing timely treatment.

The Government's insurance scheme removed these obstacles that had stood between the poor and joint replacement surgeries.


At a function held after the walkathon, Dr. Rajasekaran showed pre-surgery and post-surgery footage of severe arthritis to show how timely surgical intervention helped. Mr. Balasubramaniam also spoke the benefits of good health and advanced medical care.

This was followed by an interaction between the audience and doctors on arthritis.

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