I also have osteoarthritis in both knees, plus another form of arthritis called chondromalacia patellae. 10 years ago, during the week I turned 40, I had arthroscopic knee surgery and about half of my right medial meniscus was removed because it was so badly damaged. Post-surgery my orthopedist told me that he had good news & bad news. The bad news: the condition of my knees was what he normally saw in people 10-15 years older than me. The good news: at least I knew it at 40 and could adjust my activity before more significant damage occurred.
As Laura has noted, low impact exercise, a visit with a doctor (primary care or a rheumatologist - I don't recommend going to an ortho like I did because they're more likely to suggest surgery) and a referral to a PT are excellent responses to having arthritic knees. Icing your knees after strenuous activity isn't a bad idea either. Also, every pound of weight you lose will decrease the strain on your knees. As I've lost weight my knees have begun to feel better, even with all the increased physical activity.
Just don't stop moving! Arthritis is very prevalent in my family and all my older relatives who have had it have always told me that the day you stop moving is the day you become a victim of your arthritis. My core daily exercises are walking and using an elliptical trainer, which are low-impact. Hiking is my go-to weekend exercise - I'm not yet fit enough to tackle the hard trails but when I am I will likely benefit from using trekking poles to alleviate some of the potential strain on my knees.
And one other thing - invest in quality footwear appropriate to the activities you do. Find a store with knowledgeable staff who can assist you - our local REI has a great person in their shoe department who knows what she's doing, and there are other stores which specialize in shoes for people with physical challenges. Better footwear has really made a noticeable difference for me when it comes to my achy knees. Good luck!
Edited by: CORRALES_SCOTT at: 1/11/2013 (13:17)
"Hope will never be silent." ~ Harvey Milk
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