Obesity is one of the main causes for knee replacement surgery among the younger population in the UAE, surgeons have warned.
"This operation used to be reserved for older patients between their 50s and 80s, but the younger overweight population is now afflicted with joint problems," said Dr Nader Darwish, medical director of the Abu Dhabi Knee and Sports Medicine Centre.
International experts met in Dubai to discuss the "Arab Knee", where patients come in too late for treatment and the knee joint is badly deformed.
"Praying five times a day requires active knee and hip joints," said Dr Samih Tarabichi, director of the joint replacement centre at the American Hospital.
Research shows the anatomy of the knee joint in people here is different to those in the West, Dr Tarabichi has previously said. Patients here are also more often heavier.
The doctor spoke to Gulf News at the Congress for Joint Reconstruction held at the Dubai International Convention Centre.
Need to educate
"You do not need to fly abroad for treatment," said the surgeon, noting that the problems faced by UAE residents are different than those suffering joint problems in Europe or the US. "Arab patients require more flexibility in their joints to place their knees on the ground [for praying or for sitting cross-legged on the floor]," he said.
Surgeons said there was an urgent need to educate people that regular exercise will prevent the condition deteriorating and will help increase strength, endurance and flexibility. Dr Darwish said a balanced diet would help maintain proper weight balance.
By Mahmood Saberi