My Dad and Osteoarthritis: A Tale of Two Knees
Arthritis can be a source of pain and distress for those suffering from one of its many forms. Moving our bodies and limbs is something which we largely take for granted and yet with arthritic conditions, such a basic ability can be made painful and difficult.
My father suffers with osteoarthritis which particularly affects his knee joints. It has been a struggle to find solutions to ease his pain and make walking less of a trial, but after a process of trial and error we have found several remedies which have proved effective for him.
The first is the wearing of knee supports. He wears these strongly elasticated bands on each knee most days. He found that the amount of pain he experienced diminished and he felt less of a need for painkillers. When it comes to managing a long-term condition like arthritis, taking fewer painkillers less often is highly desirable; whilst severe side effects may be rare, they are still potentially harmful. The important thing to remember with knee supports is to replace them as they begin to lose their elasticity so they maintain adequate support of the joint.
The second remedy which my dad found helpful was modifying his diet and exercise. He had always been active and enjoyed cycling, but arthritis made this painful and gradually he stopped. He then began to gain weight and his condition worsened even more quickly. But now he controls his weight through his healthy diet and regular gentle exercise; swimming is particularly beneficial for sufferers of arthritis.
Knee osteoarthritis is one of the most commonly seen forms of the condition because the knee is a weight-bearing joint and therefore subject to considerable stress and strain. But whichever particular joint is affected, osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition and there is no way to cure or reverse its effects. Managing the symptoms is the best we can do.