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August 28, 2000
Doctors say Vajpayee can embark on US trip
Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Top orthopaedic surgeons of leading hospitals in the Capital were unanimous in their opinion that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee can go ahead with his forthcoming tour of the United States without any problem.
Vajpayee cut short his visit to Nagpur and returned to New Delhi on Sunday after doctors advised him to give rest to his knee giving rise to speculation in media circles that all was not well with him. Despite denial by the prime minister himself, stories about his physical fitness continued to do rounds in the corridors of power.
"He remains hale and hearty and will go through with his scheduled US visit without any problem," a top Bharatiya Janata Party leader told rediff.com
Dr P K Dave, director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, too confirmed that there was nothing to worry. "We have been taking good care of the prime minister's knee problem. It is a case of wear and tear. He has been prescribed medicines and told to do some exercises with the help of a physiotherapist. He needs to give some rest to his knee. He would have no problems if he goes ahead with his proposed US tour. His problem is common among people over the age of fifty," Dave told rediff.com.
Dr Mathew Varghese, director of St. Stephen Hospital and an orthopaedic surgeon, agreed with Dr Dave. "It is normal to have osteo-arthritis at his age. A bit of swelling can make the knee painful. The best thing is to give it some rest. Those suffering from knee pain should reduce their weight," said Dr Mathew.
Dr Balu Shankran, a consultant with leading private hospitals, concurs with the opinion of his fellow doctors. He says that after the age of 50, most of the people would have some kind of knee problem. "If the problem persists even after prolonged medication the best to have the damaged portion removed. Those who cannot afford it should use a cane to balance their body movement. However, not everyone need use a cane. A bit of exercise would help," he said.
For patients who cannot curtail their activities, Dr Mohan Kumar, a renowned physio-therapist, recommends use of the cane to prevent the knee condition from deteriorating further. "Patients must use a cane till such a time that the injury heals after which it can be discarded. During the period of pain, it is best to take rest and medicines prescribed by the doctor."
As the injury heals, simple exercises to tone up the muscles would help. "We call it quadriceps drill in medical terminology. While performing these exercises no pain is felt in any part of the body. But we have to see the patient to determine the nature of exercises that should be recommended," he said.
"As far as the prime minister's US trip is concerned, I foresee no problems as his panel of doctors must already be on the job to ensure peak fitness during the trip," Dr Kumar told rediff.com.
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