A lot of people who knew about my knee would ask why I just don't go ahead and get a replacement knee. That was not a choice for me, yet. I thought it might be an option in the future, but I didn't want to go that route - yet.
As I became more fit and lost more weight, I walked more, exercised more, and even started Zumba and Cardio Dance classes. Some of the moves were difficult with my painful knee but in the long run, the movement was good for it. It still hurt, but not nearly as much. The more I did, the more I was able to do.
Walking is good for weight loss and overall health, but it is also good for arthritis in knees and hips.
According the Arthritis Foundation these are the benefits to your legs, knees, and hips when you walk:
- Walking improves circulation:
blood flow increases to the joints,
increases the circulation of the synovial fluid that
lubricates the joints
nutrients to the joints
- Walking shores up your bones:
joint-repair genes are switched on
cellular waste is removed
- Walking strengthens muscles:
muscle is built
- Walking supports your joints
- Walking helps you do more, longer:
"physical activity is the best non-drug treatment for improving pain and function in Osteoarthritis" (arthritis.org article "Benefits of Exercise for Ostearthritis" )
The arthritis Foundations recommends the following exercises for maintaining or improving movement for the arthritic person:
- Range of Motion or Flexibility Exercises: Stretching and full span movements
- Aerobic/endurance Exercises: Walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, elipticals
- Strengthening Exercises: Walking and aquatic (water) exercises
How much exercise does the Arthritis Foundation recommend in a week?
150 minutes of moderate intensity
75 minutes of vigorous intensity
This translates into:
a 30 minute walk or bike ride five times a week
jogging, swimming, or biking for 25 minutes three times a week
or any combination.
Note: Exercise is good, but exercise intelligently. Low impact exercises, like walking, cycling, or using an eliptical machine are smart choices. Listen to your body and don't hurt yourself. Start slow.
After exercising for the last four to five years, my pain level was cut by about 80% and range of motion increased about 50%. I had done research on what I could do myself to help my arthritis.
Exercise was the major recommendation, but there were two hopeful treatments in the horizon that I couldn't wait to try:
One is stem cell therapy. While it is approved for certain things including tennis elbow, it is still not FDA approved for knees. When it is approved, I will be first in line to try it. It is supposed to the rebuild your joint to the joint of a healthy 20 year old.
The other one is Hyaluronic acid injections into the knee. These were recently FDA approved for the knee and most insurance will pay for it. It is a natural substance that our bodies make naturally.
Naturally, I asked for it. My doctor said yes and confirmed that results have been good with it's use. I thought what do I have to lose? Nothing. What do I have a chance to gain? Painless use of my knee.
So, for five weeks I took one injection per week. They were a little painful, but after the first shot, the next day, my knee felt wonderful. The next two injections didn't change the feeling of my knee very much. The final two made as much difference as night is to day.
I am so excited! It's been over a month since my last injection and my knee continues to improve. I am able to do two hours of Cardio Dance and Zumba back to back without any suffering.
In fact, I feel almost no pain in that knee. These shots were miracle workers for my arthritis. I would do it again in a heartbeat and sooner. I recommend anyone who has arthritic knees, hips, elbows, etc., to ask their doctor about Hyaluronic acid injections.
Do you have arthritis in a knee? Is it preventing you from doing activities that you love? Do you walk everyday? What have you done to alleviate painful joints? Share your stories on this important subject, so that others my be helped.