10 Things That Can Alleviate Osteoarthritis
Symptoms of osteoarthritis may be relieved by applying creams such as ibuprofen gel6 to the joint or by using Revitive as a drug-free alternative. Revitive ‘Medic Knee’ uses professional strength OxyWave Technology to stimulate leg muscles, is indicated to relieve pain, and strengthen thigh muscles and which support the knee and may allow greater movement.
In a surprise review, the well-respected Cochrane Library reported in 2019 that “paracetamol provides minimal, probably clinically unimportant benefits in the immediate and short-term for people with hip or knee osteoarthritis”. A full review into drug treatment of osteoarthritis is underway.
Once described as an age-related “wear and tear” condition of the knee cartilage, osteoarthritis is now more accurately described as “wear and inadequate repair”4, with injury to the joint triggering, among other things, inflammation and growth of bony spurs.
Knee osteoarthritis can in fact be up to six times more likely after injury, so take care to protect your joints.
Our knees experience twice our body weight when we walk, and more when we run or squat. Any weight gain then lies particularly heavy on our knees. Dr Juan Mora from the University of Florida explains that there is “around 10% risk reduction of knee osteoarthritis per kilogram of body weight decreased”5.
Exercise is essential for joints, with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence calling it a core treatment for osteoarthritis, alongside weight loss. Several high-impact sports, such as football, hockey and long-distance running, have been linked to an increased risk of knee damage; non-weight bearing exercise such as swimming or cycling may be more appropriate.
Many people report an unpredictable ‘inflammatory’ or ‘burning’ pain linked to the weather, as opposed to the ‘mechanical’ or ‘sharp’ pain that they associate with movement7. It’s possible that the weather does affect symptoms for some, perhaps through affecting how active you are.
Misunderstandings about arthritis abound. It’s important to know, for example, that “hurt does not equal harm” and that exercise is safe, and indeed recommended. Inactivity can weaken the knee joint, and increase obesity.
Frequent kneeling, heavy lifting or squatting in occupations such as building, plumbing and carpentry elevates the risk of osteoarthritis, through an accumulation of microtrauma in the knee. Employers must comply with Manual Handling Operations Regulations.
A healthy balanced diet is good for our hearts - and our joints. Keeping a healthy weight is more important than following a particular diet. As for food supplements, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence currently advises against glucosamine or chondroitin for the management of osteoarthritis1.
Owing to smaller joints, and a loss of oestrogen at the menopause, osteoarthritis is more common in women, especially after the age of 50, than in men. But “racial differences in osteoarthritis phenotypes were more significant than gender disparity,” reported one study, with African Americans being perhaps twice as likely to experience the knee condition.
Keep calm and keep talking when you have osteoarthritis. Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy can often help, by confronting feelings of anxiety and depression, and by improving sleep8. Contact your GP or the Versus Arthritis helpline on 0800 5200 520 for information, advice and support.
Over a million people around the world have purchased a Revitive Circulation Booster, helping to stimulate their muscles and to keep doing the things they love. Click here to hear David Simpson’s Revitive story.
- Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2014) Osteoarthritis: care and management. Clinical Guideline CG177 https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg177/evidence/full-guideline-pdf-191761311
- Hunter DJ, Bierma-Zeinstra S (2019) Osteoarthritis. Lancet 393:1745-1759
- Versus Arthritis (2021) Osteoarthritis https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/osteoarthritis/
- Piccaver M (2017) Everything your GP doesn’t have time to tell you about arthritis. Sheldon Press, London.
- Mora J, Przkora R, Cruz-Almeida Y (2018) Knee osteoarthritis: pathophysiology and current treatment modalities. Journal of Pain Research 11:2189-2196
- Ware L (2016) Can topical NSAIDs help relieve the pain of arthritis? https://www.evidentlycochrane.net/topical-nsaids-pain-arthritis/
- Wallis JA, Taylor NF, Bunzil S, Shields N (2019) Experience of living with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review of qualitative studies. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/9/9/e030060.long
- Murphy SL, Janevic MR, Lee P, Williams DA (2018) Occupational Therapist-Delivered Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy For Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Pilot Study. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30157016/
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