Learn more about arthritis

Arthritis can be complicated and overwhelming. Learn more about arthritis including the best exercises, diets, and adventures. We are here to not only make it easy for you to understand but to bring hope to your situation with the tips and tricks we present.

osteoarthrosis defined

Tell me more about osteoarthrosis! 3 things you need to know

Osteoarthrosis and osteoarthritis sound very similar, so what is the difference between the two? Even Google is autocorrecting to osteoarthritis. As it turns out, osteoarthrosis and osteoarthritis can be used interchangeably. Both are describing a joint disease that impacts joint health and cartilage. As described in an article written in 1984 by M. H. Atkinson, osteoarthrosis is described as, “… a disorder of synovial joints characterized by cartilage degeneration with secondary changes in the adjacent bone.” Now remember this is 1984, so some things have been discovered since then. Let’s take a deeper look.

It can be confusing trying to figure out what osteoarthrosis is, especially if you have been told you have it. There’s not much information out there on it.

Don’t worry though, I’ll help you get to the bottom of it! Here are three things you need to know:

1. So what is osteoarthrosis?

It sounds a lot like a common term we hear, osteoarthritis. 

Is there a difference? 

Broken down, osteoarthrosis translates to “chronic arthritis of noninflammatory character”

Osteoarthritis is described as ” ‘inflammation of bone and joint”, but also “osteoarthrosis is another name for the chronic condition known as osteoarthritis’ “

After doing some research, it seems as if the term osteoarthrosis was more commonly used in the 80s. The term is used less commonly now.

As it was described in the article mentioned above, “The three main symptoms [of osteoarthrosis] are pain, morning stiffness and a tendency for the affected joint to gel with immobility” which sounds a lot like the common symptoms of osteoarthritis. It was also described as commonly presenting in hip, knee, ankle/foot, and fingers.

The article goes on later to describe that the terms osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis can be used interchangeably. 

My thinking is that osteoarthrosis began to lose it’s steam when scientists and researchers found out that this joint disease that was claimed to not be impacted by inflammation, actually is. The role of inflammation can be further described here.

Found in a study in 2013 by Sokolove et al., “OA is tightly linked to the interplay of joint damage, the immune response to perceived damage, and the subsequent state of chronic inflammation resulting in propagation and progression toward the phenotype recognized as clinical OA”

This is my opinion of maybe when the shift happened away from osteoarthritis and shifted to better fit the narrative of osteoarthritis.

2. What do I do now?

Osteoarthrosis is defined as a non-inflammatory arthritis where osteoarthritis is considered an inflammatory arthritis. 

But then when you look at the treatment approach, they are almost identical.

The article by M.H. Atkinson states, the treatment for osteoathrosis includes:

  • weight loss
  • physical activity 
  • supportive devices
  • rest (although long term rest is never recommended)
  • anglesics (or pain medications)

Doesn’t that sound oddly familiar to osteoarthritis? These things above can also help to reduce inflammation…

So if you have been diagnosed with either osteoarthrosis or osteoarthritis, the research points to finding movement your joints like so you can get them stronger.

Lucky for you, as a physical therapist, I have created a totally free, 4 day challenge to help you get started. Even if it feels impossible to exercise I absolutely encourage you to give this a try because you may just surprise yourself :). 

3. What does your future look like?

When you have a condition that impacts your joints, the less time you spend taking action, the more pain you likely will be in. 

Rest is almost never the answer when it comes to your joints, unless you are in a brief period of an intense flare up. Which even in that case, your joints will love gentle, relaxing movement. Contrary to popular belief, exercise is actually good for your joints! Read more on that here.

With more rest and avoidance of movement, you may tend to experience more pain, less range of motion, and decreased mobility. This is the case for both osteoarthrosis and osteoarthritis.

Surgery is recommended in some cases but is a big decision that doesn’t always guarantee full relief. Learn more about how to decide on joint replacement surgery here.

If you are able to find ways to control pain naturally such as through movement, diet, proper sleep, and medication management- you may not ever even need surgery. It is possible to thrive with osteoarthritis or osteoarthrosis naturally. Here is a powerful story to show how. 

It is so important that you are proactive in searching out treatment options. and getting second opinions before making big decisions. Many times, people end up getting surgery prematurely because of the belief that it is the only option.

When, in fact, even when your joints are considered to be “bone on bone” there absolutely is hope for natural relief! Get some inspiration from this video below.

Conclusion

As it appears in the research, osteoarthritis and osteoarthrosis are considered synonymous. If you have one or the other, the treatment will likely be almost exactly the same. 

If you are told you have osteoarthrosis, I would encourage you to ask the doctor, surgeon, or other medical professional what you can do besides surgery to find relief. This is because you absolutely have options no matter which stage of the process you are in. 

If you are feeling down or hopeless with the condition, I highly encourage you to check out my Youtube channel. There are lots of different inspiring stories and messages of hope that so many have found helpful. You can check it out here.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

how to heal a torn meniscus naturally

That Dang Meniscus! How to HEAL a Torn Meniscus Naturally, the 4 BEST ways

Most degenerative meniscus tears, meaning those that come without a specific injury have the capacity to actually heal themselves! When looking at how to heal a torn meniscus naturally, there are a few things that will make you successful. Non-operative management is possible, with the right movement program, inflammation control, and regaining your confidence. Surgery is considered in some circumstances and I’ll discuss how you know if your torn meniscus requires surgery below.

Patient story

Meet one of my clients who reached out to me with this story:

how to heal a meniscus naturally

Her knee did not feel stable and she was having pain that kept increasing. She began avoiding activity because she was scared she was making things worse.

She saw her primary care doctor who then referred her to an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon wanted to go ahead with surgery but she got a different opinion which advised against surgery. 

She had luck with PT but was looking to return back to her normal activities. 

We started working together, talking through the fact that some pain and discomfort is okay. That she wasn’t causing more damage with every twinge of pain she felt.

She started becoming less fearful of movement. She started getting stronger.

She was even able to start running again, which was huge! She is back to playing tennis and mountain biking with her e-bike.

For her, she wasn’t sure if surgery was for her but did seek out further assistance to make her decision. Now she is thriving because she learned how to treat her torn meniscus naturally!

If you have a degenerative meniscus tear, you usually have a few options when it comes to treatment. These include: 

  • Physical therapy or medical exercise
  • Meniscus repair (usually arthroscopic): cleaning of meniscus
  • Meniscectomy (partial or full, arthroscopic or open): removal of meniscus, partial and arthroscopically is the most common procedure

Researchers have been comparing these three things for many years to decide which is the best. When looking at how to heal a torn meniscus naturally, one of the best bets is on physical therapy and exercise.

But how effective is it really? Let’s take a look. 

Is exercise effective for a torn meniscus?

I took a deep dive into the research to find out the true possibilities of healing a torn meniscus naturally. Here’s what was found.

  • In a study of 102 people with knee pain and a degenerative horizontal tear of the posterior horn of the medial meniscus- average age 53.8 years old- half got meniscectomy surgery and half got physical therapy/strengthening exercises. BOTH groups had similar pain reduction, improvements in function, and satisfaction after a two year follow up.
  • Another study looked at those receiving physical therapy after partial meniscectomy and supervised exercise alone, without surgery. Interestingly, those that received surgery first did not have any better results than those that just did exercise. Both groups had “decreased knee pain, improved knee function and a high satisfaction”
  • A systematic review analyzed 6 different studies around operative versus non-operative meniscus treatment and found: “The results of this systematic review strongly suggest that there is currently no compelling evidence to support arthroscopic partial meniscectomy versus physical therapy.”

Are you starting to see a pattern here?

In most circumstances, the Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy is no better than traditional exercise alone when it comes to looking at pain and function.

So resources on how to heal a torn meniscus naturally are critical to your success as surgery may not be the most efficacious option anyways. 

The key here is knowing which exercises are not going to flare up your pain and will actually bring you the same benefits as found above.

Before I dive into how to heal a torn meniscus naturally, I do want you to know there are certain circumstances where surgery is recommended and these criteria below can help you decide.

Should you get meniscus surgery?

A very interesting study laid out the parameters when it comes to deciding on surgery, particularly the APM or Arthroscopic Partial Meniscectomy procedure.

“According to the current algorithm of the 2016 ESSKA Meniscus Consensus Project, the messages regarding APM were as follows:

  1. APM should not be considered as the first-line treatment choice;

  2. APM should only be proposed after a proper standardized imaging protocol;

  3. APM can be proposed after three months of persistent pain/mechanical symptoms or earlier in cases with considerable mechanical symptoms;

  4. No APM should be proposed with advanced osteoarthritis on Schuss view.”

This means that you should try other options before jumping the gun to surgery. This is why learning how to heal a torn meniscus naturally is very important.

The new approach to modern surgery is no longer “if it’s torn, take it out” but instead replaced with “Save the meniscus!” which is why you see many surgeons advising conservative treatment first.

It is important to note that conservative management will not work perfectly for everyone and some will have to go and have surgery. I do know many that have found relief following the surgery but also some that have “never been the same”.

Watch this video below to help you with this decision if you are feeling stuck: 

How to heal a torn meniscus naturally

Step 1: Finding the RIGHT movement

This is hands down one of the most important steps when it comes to your meniscus healing. Movement can be extremely powerful in this situation but you have to make sure you are doing the right things.

Many people try exercise but end up causing more pain or further injury because they aren’t doing the right things.

Muscle strengthening is one of the best ways to improve pain and instability related to an injured meniscus. Strengthening the muscles in your leg truly help to provide support to your knee joint.

Why is muscle support necessary? A meniscus helps to absorb the stress from daily movement to protect your knee. When the meniscus is torn, it doesn’t work as well and more stress goes to the knee. If you have appropriate muscle strength, your muscles can now compensate for some of the lost meniscus function.

So where should you begin? Here is a video example of the 6 best exercises you can try if you have a torn meniscus. 

Please be advised, all of these exercises may not feel great to you and that’s okay!  It is important to choose 2 or 3 to incorporate into your daily routine.

Step 2: Stay Active

Contrary to popular belief, rest may not. bethe most important thing in your healing journey. Too often we rest, thinking we are doing our joints. a favor but in reality this can lead to more joint stiffness and pain.

Minimize the time you are stationary to <2 hours at a time. You will see a dramatic increase in your mobility if you increase the amount of time you are moving throughout the day.

Even simply completing movements when you are sitting can help to reduce joint stiffness and thus decrease pain. 

Inactivity can actually lead to muscle weakness, increased irritation, and increased inflammation which leads to difficulty moving around.

Step 3: Use a Knee Sleeve

Knee sleeves can help significantly with improving stability and decreasing pain. they can also help to control knee swelling if it is problematic for you. 

I love these because they don’t impede your range of motion and are relatively inexpensive. Here is my top 11 list of the best knee sleeves.

These can be very helpful in getting you through more exercise. andmore activity without flaring up your pain.

Step 4: Control Inflammation

This can be done in a variety of ways including food, stress management, avoiding overactivity, and getting proper sleep. If you have high levels of inflammation in your body, it can negatively impact healing ability of your meniscus.

Here is a list of the best anti-inflammatory foods to help you get started on your journey. 

A good rule of thumb is to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep. If you have a hard time sleeping due to pain, you can try heat or ice before you go to bed (make sure you don’t sleep with it though), light movement/stretching, and gentle massage to help with pain flares.

Overactivity can lead to further inflammation so it is important to listen to your body and watch how much activity your joint can handle. If you walk 30 minutes one day and ontice pain afterwards, try 20 minutes the following day to see if you experience less pain. Continue to modify as needed. Here is a video to help.

Making the right decision for your meniscus

Whether you decide to go the natural, conservative route or the surgical route, I want you to feel confident in this decision.

You can make the best of both situations and you have to choose what is best for you. Weigh all of your options. 

It is possible to learn how to heal a torn meniscus naturally and actually be successful with it. With dedication and consistency you will be able to thrive even with a meniscus tear. 

Meniscus tears are very common and there are options for treatment. You don’t have to give up everything you love because of a meniscus tear. Hang in there!

Top myths about knee pain that you don't want to believe

Meniscus tears are commonly associated with knee osteoarthritis. Whether you have knee osteoarthritis or want to make sure you don’t get it in the future, I have an exciting ebook for you! 

Learn the top 3 myths around knee osteoarthritis that are holding people back from relief. Make sure they don’t hold you back by downloading this free guide today! 

arthritis adventure blueprint

The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint

Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s signature program to help you go from hopeless to hopeful with osteoarthritis. You will learn the secrets to arthritis pain relief that actually work- including exercise, diet, and other ways to control inflammation! Say goodbye to short term pain relief, it’s time to make it last.

natural arthritis pain relief

The KEY to Unlocking Natural Arthritis Pain Relief in 2021: Embark on an Arthritis Adventure

If you are looking for natural arthritis pain relief, here is a brand new way to achieve it. An arthritis adventure is a powerful journey that hundreds with osteoarthritis have been on. Starting with joint pain, stiffness, and lack of mobility, they were able to find hope again. They were able to get back to running, hiking, biking, skiing, and simply just walking around the neighborhood. But wait…that’s possible with osteoarthritis?! It absolutely is.

“My grandkids keep wanting me to get on the floor but I just can’t because of my arthritic knees”

“I used to love running and used it as my stress reliever. But I was told I could never run again because of my arthritis and I am devastated.”

“My back pain can be so limiting that I really cannot even stand for longer than 20 minutes. It makes playing golf so difficult.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar? 

If they do, I want you to take a sigh of relief because you are in the right place. Instead of telling you, “you can never do x, y, z because of your arthritic joints”, we find a way. Natural arthritis pain relief is possible.

Take Staci for example, she was dealing with knee pain that became so limiting to simply just walking and going up and down the stairs. She was an avid backpacker here in Utah and was devastated when she could no longer hike.

She was determined to avoid surgery. She has now since returned to hiking after starting her Arthritis Adventure. Hear her story below. 

What is an arthritis adventure, tell me more!

An Arthritis Adventure something we developed at Keep the Adventure Alive because we got so tired of people simply being told you have arthritis because you are getting older and you really should stop all exercise. Also being told, “there’s really nothing you can do besides surgery”. 

We saw ex-athletes become sedentary, gain unwanted weight, and fall into depression because of this. We saw previously vibrant, active people become isolated, alone, and weak. 

We are changing the narrative around arthritis treatment. No longer does it look like medications, surgeries, arthroscopic procedures, and cortisone shots. Instead it looks doing exercises you actually feel confident doing, gaining so much more energy, and controlling inflammation naturally. You have OPTIONS.

An Arthritis Adventure is a journey of courage and motivation that is unlike any other arthritis treatment. This journey is for those who don’t accept that arthritis is going to hold them back. Those who aren’t willing to give up their active lifestyle.

It goes like this…

First, you choose an adventure

First you choose an adventure you would like to accomplish. Don’t sell yourself short just because you may have been told you can never do something again. Pick something that would truly make you happy.

Here are some examples from real clients: 

  • carrying grandchildren up and down the stairs 
  • get back to feeling confident on a mountain bike
  • getting up and down from the floor with ease
  • get back to running at least 3 miles
  • actually feel confident exercising daily again
  • return to sprint triathlons
  • be able to complete in fencing on a national stage

Really take some time to think about these goals because this will guide the rest of your journey. There is no going willy-nilly into this! Don’t just stop at “I want to be more active”. Give yourself a solid goal of “I want to be able to walk around the grocery store without knee swelling or more pain afterwards”.

After you have these goals, it’s time to move on.

Next step, the plan

It’s time now to create a plan. And let me tell you, it’s not as simple as: 

…exercise and lose weight.

When people are told to do this by healthcare professionals, they are almost never successful. Why? Because that is not a real plan. There are usually no directions given on how to achieve it. Most of the times people are left to their own discretion and fall off the wagon very easily.

Does this sound familiar? It’s totally okay if it does because almost everyone we meet has experienced this in some way. 

Instead of just hopping right to exercise or right to cutting everything out of your diet, you have to understand why you are doing it. In order to achieve long term natural arthritis pain relief you have to understand the answers to these questions. What are the benefits of exercise when it comes to arthritis? What foods are best for controlling inflammation?  Why should you be worried about inflammation in the first place?

If you blindly follow something because a friend, family member, or neighbor did it and said it worked, you may just be spinning your wheels

What we have found is that once you actually understand why something is helping, you will be significantly more successful. 

For example, one of our clients was not a fan of exercise nor did he really ever have an exercise routine. He began to develop severe back spasms and early signs of spinal stenosis. He did not want surgery so thought he would give exercise a try.

He had tried before but found it was so hard to stay consistent. He never really knew what exercises to do and was never fully convinced it was helping his joints, sometimes he thought it may have been hurting them. So he’d usually stop after a week or two.

It took until he realized that exercise is actually one of the best things for joints because it controls inflammation. He learned which exercises to do more of and maybe which to avoid. He learned the correct form and finally was able to reap amazing benefits! He actually looked forward to exercise because of how good it made him feel. Now he’s been consistently exercising for 6+ months.

Another client felt like she had been exercising like she should but still was not getting any pain relief. It turns out that exercise wasn’t what she needed the most. Her diet rich in inflammatory foods was what was holding her back. She was also severely under the recommended amount on protein. Making a few simple changes finally started unlocking pain relief.

Instead of spending a bunch of time figuring out where you need to start and what is holding you back, we’ve made it easy. In the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint we take you step by step into figuring out where you should be focusing.

Finding movement your joints love is next

Movement is such a critical part of this Arthritis Adventure and for natural arthritis pain relief. Not only for strengthening and weight loss but for daily life! We have to be able to move in order to make it through the day. 

Sometimes, it can seem like your joints won’t love any movement. That every movement you try hurts.

There are so many ways to move. Many more than we think. There are also so many different variations of exercises. 

Take squats for example. Almost no one raises their hand and says “wow, I love squats”, especially with osteoarthritis. But take a look at this video below to find out 10 ways you can modify squats that will actually be nice to arthritic knees, hips, and low backs! 

The best way to start in finding these movements is to invest in someone that can show you the way. Once you understand the exercises, form, and right amount- it becomes SO MUCH EASIER. You will actually be excited for exercise again because of how good you will feel afterwards.

We have created a library of the best 10 workout classes led by Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, physical therapist and arthritis specialist. These videos are between 20-45 minutes in length using various equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, chairs, and other objects you can easily find in your home.

When you have someone guiding you along, pushing you, and motivating you- doors begin to open for arthritis pain relief. If you want to follow a sample workout routine, we do have a free 5 day challenge you can start with. 

Finally, make it consistent

The key to success on an Arthritis Adventure is consistency. If you can find a routine and do it regularly, you have so much potential for arthritis pain relief.

Even just simply doing exercise 10-15 minutes per day can make a huge difference. Changing out one or two of the things you typically eat that cause inflammation can have so much more impact than you realize. 

It is achievable even if you feel like you don’t have time. 

Even if you feel like you have “tried every exercise before”. 

Even if you have bone on bone arthritis, it’s still possible to find exercises that don’t flare up your pain.

The longer you wait, the harder it will become

Natural arthritis pain relief is possible

There is so much you can accomplish even with arthritis. Your life does not have to be over. You don’t have to fear for your future. Not if you start now. Not if you take a leap of faith on yourself.

Take a peek at our Arthritis Adventure Blueprint to realize your true potential without having to spend hundreds on medical appointments, procedures, and injections. 

You may surprise yourself at how good you feel…

best shoes for foot pain relief

How To Choose the BEST Shoes For Foot Pain Relief in 2021

Finding foot pain relief can open so many doors when it comes to what you are able to accomplish! Starting with the right shoes can be one of the best first steps. If you suffer from pain when walking or even just when resting while wearing shoes, then you’ll know just how unbearable this can be. This article will provide you with the best options for appropriate footwear for foot pain relief. With 77% of people experiencing foot pain, you are not alone!

This post may contain affiliate links where we obtain a small commission for purchasing from our links.

There are so many options when it comes to choosing the right shoes. Add in foot pain and it can complicate the process! 

Taking the time to find quality shoes for foot pain relief can help you stay active, especially if you spend a lot of time on your feet. Investing in the appropriate pair of shoes can make a big difference.

Here you will learn some things to think about when heading out shopping to help make this process a little easier. You have to take care of your feet in order to keep your joints healthy. 

Rules of Thumb for choosing the right shoes

Follow these simple tips to find the best shoes for you. If you are spending a lot of time walking or standing on concrete, head to this post here. Wearing supportive shoes is incredibly important when protecting painful, arthritic joints! 

  • Choose footwear built for comfort rather than style. For example, avoid high-heels or narrow frames; instead, aim for footwear with thick soles and a wide base.
  • Wear the socks that you normally wear when choosing your new shoes to feel as genuine as possible.
  • Shop at the end of the day, as your feet naturally expand during the course of the day.
  • Make sure that you measure both feet because there could be slight differences between your right and left.
  • There should be space in your shoes when you’re standing, around half an inch between the end of your longest toe and the toe box of the shoe.
  • Walk around, preferably on different surfaces, paying attention to how your feet feel.

 

Choosing Sandals for Foot Pain Relief

In good weather, it’s easy just to slip some thongs or sliders on, but these will not help with foot pain relief. You may not always want to wear clunky tennis shoes! 

  • If you’re looking for comfortable sandals, the most important thing to consider is the sole; this should be sturdy and contoured to support your foot.
  • Be sure to consider arch support sandals for foot pain relief. Sandals with arch support are a must with the added comfort they provide. Here is my favorite pair of supportive sandals

Choosing the best fashion shoes for foot arthritis

You need shoes built for comfort and stretch, particularly if you suffer from pain associated with bunions. This is definitely something to consider before purchasing, no matter how cute the shoe is! 

Taking care of your feet is incredibly important to prevent further joint pains, compensations, or other injuries. Your feet dictate how you walk, run, and move about your daily life. BUT you can still find shoes that are fashionable while being the best shoes for foot pain relief here.

  • Some brands offer half sizes, as well as varying widths of shoes.
  • Footwear with removable insoles will help, as these will allow you to insert your own orthotic insoles if required.
  • Having additional padding, such as in the tongue and collar of the shoe, will provide extra comfort and foot pain relief.

Choosing Casual Shoes for Foot Pain Relief

Finding casual shoes such as shoes to wear around the house or while running errands is also important. Many times if you have a history of plantar fasciitis, knee osteoarthritis, or a stress fracture- walking around barefoot may not be the best thing for you! 

Finding comfortable shoes you can wear around can help to stave off joint pain.

  • Be sure to take note of the type of fabric the shoes are made from. Flexible fabric is good if you suffer from hammertoes or bunions – and yet is supportive.
  • Casual shoes designed for foot pain relief often require additional arch support, so watch out for that when shopping and be prepared to get insoles as well.

 

Choosing running shoes to help with foot pain

Running can be possible if you are dealing with foot pain or even knee osteoarthritis. Before you pick out your shoes, make sure you are doing the right things for your body to help make sure your joints are ready for running! Learn more here.

Running, as a foot pain sufferer, can be absolutely horrendous! It is essential to make sure that you have the right shoes for this because of the impact that running has on your feet.

Shoes can help to absorb some of the repetitive stress that comes with running, especially if your joints are angry from arthritis or another injury. 

  • Soles with foam provide extra cushioning.
  • A wide toe box will allow your toes to splay as your feet hit the road, reducing pressure on bunions or hammertoes and adding stability to your feet.
  • Full mesh shoes don’t always provide the most support
If you are looking for shoes specifically designed to help relieve pain from foot arthritis- head here. Many times plantar fasciitis can be common when you are doing a lot of running. These shoes can help provide optimal support so you are no longer limited by pesky foot pain. You will find an amazing selection of running shoes as well as the other options listed above including sandals, fashion shoes and more! 
 
This video below explains shoes I have personally tried and a trusted brand in the foot and ankle arthritis world. Take a look.

Conclusion

Aside from footwear, you can also find foot pain relief by building strength and improving your balance, both can help tremendously whether your foot pain is related to ankle arthritis, foot arthritis, or plantar fasciitis. Here are some of my favorite balance exercises to get started with. 

Choosing new shoes for foot pain relief can be challenging if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But, with this guide in hand, the process should be simpler, and you can have confidence in what you’re buying.

When your feet are out of these comfortable shoes, there are some things you can do to keep them healthy. Here are 5 simple exercises that you can do simply sitting on the couch if you have foot or ankle arthritis pain and/or stiffness! 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

can arthritis be reversed stop sign

Can Arthritis Be Reversed?! 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To STOP the Progression

So can arthritis be reversed? Many are too quick to say no because there isn’t a cure for arthritis but there is hope out there to stop the progression of it. You can reverse the severity of the symptoms of arthritis so you can still THRIVE. No raining on your parade today! The journey to help reverse arthritis is not an easy one but man, it is worth it to be on the other side.

This was a comment I recieved recently on one of my instagram posts and I thought I’d share it to see if any of you could relate:

I literally just cried my eyes out. I was very active and randomly both knees started swelling was diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis and the Dr told me no more squats. They are my favorite. I am glad to see there is hope in doing squats again.❤️

Meghan

When we think about if arthritis can be reversed, so often our dreams are just shot right out of the sky. Everyone is quick to tell you the things you cannot do. You are usually left with no other options besides a tunnel of despair. One you feel alone in, I may add.

You likely already know that there isn’t a cure for osteoarthritis. What we can do though, is reverse the severity of the symptoms. Arthritis doesn’t have to dictate our lives; it is possible to come out on top.

But this journey to reverse arthritis symptoms may not be all butterflies and rainbows. Unfortunately the process looks more like a 2 year old trying to draw a line compared to a straight shot to freedom from pain.

I want you to know that you can do it. You can finally find freedom from arthritis pain once you dedicate yourself to the process. People have returned to hiking, skiing, biking, and even running despite being told that it was something they could never do again!

If you want to skip right ahead to the 5 things you can start doing right now to reverse arthritis- download this free guide instantly ⬇️

can arthritis be reversed

The exact 5 action steps will be found in this guide above. Let’s now look into some of the best ways you can approach reversing arthritis symptoms and what is possible if you do.

The BEST ways to reverse arthritis symptoms

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are joint stiffness and pain. You can learn more about what osteoarthritis feels like in this article. What are the best ways to reduce these two major symptoms?

Let’s take a look.

Joint stiffness can be annoying. Sitting down or standing in the same position for >20 minutes and all of a sudden your joints feel like cement blocks. Maybe you even have to hobble around for the first few steps. In order to find relief from joint stiffness, movement is one of the best answers. 

Depending on the joint, there are specific movements that can be done. Take a look at this video below for some simple, yet effective ideas!

Joint pain can be one of the most limiting symptoms when it comes to osteoarthritis. Painful joints can make movement really hard. It is important to understand what is causing your joint pain, and it may not be as obvious as you think.

One woman I had met had tried everything from ointments, medications, acupuncture, massage, heating pads, diet overhaul, and even walking- experiencing little to no long term pain relief. What she didn’t realize was she was lacking one extremely important thing: VARIETY in her movement.

Simply adding in specific moves that brought variety to her routine, unlocked pain relief that she never thought was possible.

We live our lives in a forward direction. We rarely ever move side to side or even backwards. It is extremely important that we consciously try to add variety to our day. Unsure of where to begin? Don’t worry, I have you covered. Here are some excellent ways to get started: 

What is possible once arthritis pain is behind you

When I meet with someone who appears hopeless because of arthritis pain, I know there is great opportunity that lies in working with them. I want you to know that if you are feeling hopeless, sitting here reading this blog post, you are not alone in this journey anymore.

You can learn so much from others who have walked your same path and came out on the other side. Once joint pain and joint stiffness are under control- doors of opportunity can fly open.

I just recently was working with a woman who was dealing with right knee swelling, stiffness after sitting for work, and inside of the knee pain that would even wake her up at night. She was in her 40s and was dedicated to keeping her backpacking adventures alive.

She experienced increased knee pain after a hike and it just never went away. Come to find out she was told she had arthritis. She was an avid hiker and backpacker here in Utah so that diagnosis didn’t settle well with her. 

Initially, we worked through ways to manage pain and swelling. We were able to find movements she was actually able to do without flaring up her knee pain! She dedicated herself to adding these movements every day.

Fast forward 2 months. She has been on 2 camping trips including hiking for multiple days. She has been able to begin interval running- which she didn’t think would be possible again! She now has a goal to go on a hike that is over 2000 ft of elevation gain.

She has been able to accomplish amazing things and keep her arthritis adventure alive. If you want to stop waiting to start yours, learn more about how you can get started HERE.

If you want to read more ✨inspiring✨ stories, head to this blog post.

Conclusion

The next time you hear “can arthritis be reversed” you now know the answer is simply not, NO. Instead of trying to reverse it completely, you can reduce the severity and the magnitude of your symptoms so you can live out your arthritis adventure.

How are you going to begin to reverse your arthritis symptoms today?!

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

find the best arthritis specialist

How to find the RIGHT Arthritis Specialist For You in 2021

An arthritis specialist is someone who has experience in treating those with a certain type of arthritis, usually rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis. These clinicians and practitioners explore all options and stay up to date with the most current treatments. Seeing an arthritis specialist can help you understand all of your options as well as the best interventions for you to find pain relief. 

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

“I feel like my doctor just dismisses my pain and gives me more medications.”

“My surgeon told me I essentially have to give up everything I love doing. I’m devastated.”

“It sounds like surgery is my only option and I just have to wait it out until then.”

“The physical therapist just tells me to ride the bike when I’m there and sometimes I leave with more pain than I came in with…”

“I really feel like my doctor just doesn’t listen to me. I really wish I could just find some answers.”

These scenarios can be all too common if the person you are seeing for your arthritis isn’t listening to you. It is so important to find a clinician who sees you as a person instead of a diagnosis.

Many times arthritis can feel like a devastating diagnosis. Without the appropriate support and guidance you may find yourself getting surgery prematurely or getting injections that could have been avoided. 

An arthritis specialist can give you more options and suggestions based on your goals and their experience treating arthritis. There are many different people that can specialize in arthritis including: 

  • Rheumatologists
  • Primary Care Physicians
  • Physical therapists (that’s me!)
  • Orthopedist

How do you know if they specialize in arthritis? Most of the time they will mention it in their title or on their website. But, even without this title, they can still offer you the support and guidance you need. The title is definitely an added bonus though. Personal recommendations from friends and family can also be helpful.

Let’s look into how to find the right healthcare provider for you. There are definitely items that can help you decide if you need a second opinion or a different perspective.

So often, when someone is diagnosed with osteoarthritis, very limited options are presented. This can lead to premature surgeries, unnecessary injections and wasted time. I don’t want this same thing to happen to you! 

This is why choosing the right specialist is so important. 

What to look for in a healthcare provider

Finding the right person to help you through your arthritis journey is crucial to your success. Having someone who can help guide your decisions and bring you confidence in your diagnosis will make a tremendous difference.

Here are 5 things to look for when deciding if a healthcare provider is right for you. Take a look at these questions and see if the provider you were seeing could accomplish 4 or all 5 of these items.

  • Did they ask about you– what you like to do, what you want to accomplish, what is important to you
  • Did they describe to you what arthritis is -besides just blaming it on “wear and tear”?
  • Did they give you another option besides surgery and other major procedures– including things you can do or changes you can make?
  • Did they ask if you had any questions– instead of assuming you don’t and simply leaving the room?
  • Did they tell you that you couldn’t do something that you love doing?

If the healthcare provider you are meeting with acheives 3 of these or less, a second opinion is highly recommended. Check below for a printable checklist!

arthritis specialist checklist

You deserve more

It can be a process when it comes to finding the right arthritis specialist and getting the answers you are looking for.

If you feel like you are being passed from doctor to doctor and are having a difficult time finding answers, there is still hope!

The more you know about arthritis, the better you will be at identifying who can best help you. If you are serious about tackling arthritis and don’t want to spend more time searching, you have to check out the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint!

Arthritis can be challenging and you need someone who is going to support you through the ups and downs- not someone who is going to dismiss your pain.

I saw so many people falling through the cracks. Pain being dismissed as “degenerative” with no hope in sight for recovery. Learning that there is “no cure for arthritis” so you just have to fight it out until surgery. This is NOT how it has to be.

Instead, people have gained hope and optimism with arthritis. Look at what members of our private Facebook community have learned through our sharing of powerful, in depth-information about arthritis. You won’t typically learn this from a general practitioner or someone who sees all kinds of diagnoses.

Have you ever learned any of these things below? If not, it’s time you head over learn what is actually possible with arthritis.

arthritis specialist

If your healthcare provider has focused on the things you can’t do instead of the things you can- this can be a problem. OR if you were told general recommendations like “lose weight” or “exercise” these can leave you feeling lost, confused, and overwhelmed on where to even begin.

As an arthritis specialist, I have made it my life’s mission to find out the absolute BEST ways to help you manage your osteoarthritis without surgery or other risky procedures.

You are more than just “bad joints”. Instead I view arthritis simply as an obstacle to get you closer to your goals.

So many people have gone through the ringer of:

  • meeting with different surgeons
  • failed physical therapy
  • frustration with pain management
  • attempting exercise programs that just lead to injury or more pain
  • failed dieting attempts
  • continued disappointment

But it is possible to break this vicious cycle with the right guidance. Through specific exercises directly tailored to osteoarthritis, inflammation focused diet changes, and exploration of other pain management options- an arthritis specialist can be much more effective at helping you finally learn how to thrive with osteoarthritis. 

Here at Keep the Adventure Alive, I strive to help bring people suffering with osteoarthritis from hopeless to hopeful. I have been able to do this through extensive experience and training on osteoarthritis and chronic pain specific training. 

Just as you see doctors that specialize in hearts, lungs, feet, neurological conditions, and other medical conditions- you deserve to see someone who specializes in arthritis too!

What you could be missing out on

An arthritis specialist can help you make confident decisions. The current healthcare system tends to favor short appointments, premature surgeries, and more injections. You need someone who is up to date on the research and can help you decide on the best course of action. Take a look at some of these shocking statistics.

In an article by the Arthritis Foundation they looked further into recent rising surgery rates for arthritis, particularly in knee replacements. Here is a direct quote from this article.

“According to a study of more than 2 million knee replacement patients presented at the 2014 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) meeting there was a:

  • 120% – Increase in knee replacements over a 10-year period.  
  • 89% – Increase in knee replacements among those aged 65 to 84. 
  • 188% – Increase in knee replacements for 45 to 64 year-olds”

Why are these rates increasing at such a drastic rate? What do these numbers mean? 

The rising rates could be attributed to an increase in the amount of people diagnosed with the condition due to our inflammatory-favoring culture. This is likely due to increased production of processed foods and the rise of technology leading to more sedentary behavior. People may also not be aware of other options that are available!

Surgery can be a big decision, one that can change your life significantly- for better or worse. Without all of the information on the potential risks and awareness of expectations after surgery, many could be making the wrong decision to fit their lifestyle.

I often hear from those that went through surgery weren’t aware of the magnitude of pain, the long recovery time, or the amount of work recovery would be. Others do very well! It’s all about making the right decision for you.

An arthritis specialist can help you find the best options to manage joint pain, decrease inflammation and keep your adventure alive! It’s important to find one that you trust to help you learn how to thrive with arthritis.

What can help your search for the right arthritis specialist

As mentioned above, the more you know about your arthritis, the easier it will be to find someone who can help you. Instead of weeding through all the information on the internet, I have gathered the top 5 things you need to know about arthritis before your next appointment.

You can download the Ultimate Arthritis Guide instantly down below. Prepare yourself for the next time you meet with a healthcare professional to make sure you are getting the right care!

Don’t sell yourself short by accepting subpar care when it comes to arthritis. Unfortunately arthritis isn’t going away, but you can absolutely learn how to manage the condition so you can enjoy life. Read about an inspiring patient story here.

You can absolutely do this. Having the right team behind you can be extremely powerful for this journey. If you are looking for a community of people to support you along the way, head over to our private facebook community HERE.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

arthritis adventure blueprint

The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint

Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s signature program to help you go from hopeless to hopeful with osteoarthritis. You will learn the secrets to arthritis pain relief that actually work- including exercise, diet, and other ways to control inflammation! Say goodbye to short term pain relief, it’s time to make it last.

bone on bone knee pain

11 Things to Avoid if You Have Bone on Bone Knee Pain

Are you feeling scared or overwhelmed with bone on bone knee pain? First, I want you to know that you are not alone in this. Secondly, I want you to know that there are things you can do to find arthritis pain relief. You do have options besides surgery in this scenario. It is extremely important that you take the right action to avoid further complications and worsening pain. Learn the 11 things you should avoid if you are experiencing bone on bone knee pain.

Keep the Adventure Alive is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Contrary to popular belief, a diagnosis of “bone on bone” doesn’t automatically bring pain. Our joints age just like our skin does. It is normal to have some breakdown and wearing of the tissues. Some can actually have joints that would be considered “bone on bone” without even knowing.

But I get it, you have pain and want answers! I don’t blame you. 

Pain comes when the bones get irritated. This typically happens with increased inflammation. Inflammation is tied to the foods we eat, the movements we do or don’t do, genetic predisposition, along with many other factors.

There is good news in this! If we can reduce the inflammation, we can dramatically reduce pain levels. We can do this in a variety of different ways, but these next 11 things are important things to avoid to increase chances of relief! 

Table of Contents

1. Avoid sitting for longer than 20 minutes

When bones are irritated, they don’t love being in the same position for a long time. Movement helps to move inflammation out of the joint and bring blood flow to the area. This helps to lubricate the joint. 

Staying in the same position for > 20 minutes can allow your knee joint to become very stiff as the inflammation settles. Your muscles likely remain relatively inactive when sitting so blood flow can also decrease to the joint too. 

Simple movement can help to significantly reduce stiffness accompanied also by decreased pain. Anything to keep your legs moving and in different positions can make a big difference! This video below can give you simple ideas to get started.

2. Avoid just focusing on the knee

When we have pain, we tend to look solely at the joint that hurts. Many times we find that pain can be coming from other joints! This is why some knee surgeries and procedures don’t end up relieving pain in the long term.

Our bodies are connected so it’s important to consider that with treatment. Your hips, ankles, and/or spine can be contributing to your knee pain. But if we just get an x-ray of our knee, that likely isn’t telling us the whole picture.

Working out and strengthening your other joints are just as important as getting your knee stronger! This is even more important when you have bone on bone knee pain. You need as much help from other muscles and joints as you can get. 

Unsure of where to start? I have you covered! Check out our Knee Arthritis Exercise PDF program here to get an easy to follow program detailing exercises that are nice to your knees!

3. Avoid inflammatory foods

Processed, unnatural foods are some of the most impactful to the levels of inflammation in your body. Food is extremely powerful when it comes to arthritic joint pain. 

The more inflammation we have in our bodies, the more susceptible our bones are to getting irritated. Quite often though, when getting diagnosed with bone on bone arthritis, you may be given some information on exercise but information about inflammatory foods is much more rare.

Making small and simple changes to your diet can reduce your pain levels. The kicker is, we have to be consistent in making healthier choices. That is why we typically recommend starting small because it is likely easier to maintain over the long run.

If you want to see my favorite list of anti-inflammatory foods recommended for arthritis sufferers, check it out here.

4. Avoid trying to do everything on your own

I know that asking for help can be hard but in some cases, it can be crucial to reduce bone on bone knee pain. 

Essentially, the main goal is to decrease irritation. If you are constantly irritating your joint by standing too much, walking too much, carrying heavy objects, etc. you are likely continuing to fuel the irritation. This delays pain relief.

Don’t get me wrong, activity can be very beneficial when dealing with arthriti. Overactivity is what we are trying to avoid. Having someone help with daily tasks and errands that tend to flare up your pain is definitely something to consider when you have higher levels of pain.

Remember, this doesn’t have to be permanent. If you are able to successfully reduce some of the inflammation, you will likely be able to return to these tasks! Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

5. Avoid ruling out a cane or another walking device

If your bone on bone knee pain is severe enough or if your knee tends to give way frequently, you may notice you limp when you walk.

Oftentimes, people try to put off using a cane for as long as possible. The longer you limp though, the more irritation you create. You may also be putting your other joints at risk for pain because of the uneven forces you put through your joints.

When you walk, you want to be as symmetrical as possible- that’s what your joints like. If you are unable to walk without a limp, a cane or a walker if you are feeling unsteady, can be extremely helpful while you get stronger.

Walking devices can be temporary. I recently was working with a woman who had been using a cane for a few years because of knee arthritis. After a few weeks, she was able to get rid of it completely! She put in the work to become stronger and more confident so she no longer needed the support. Using it in the beginning did help to decrease joint irritation though. So don’t rule out these devices just yet!

6. Avoid overdoing it

Physical activity is great for arthritis but as we know, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. This is especially true when experiencing bone on bone knee pain. 

The best way to avoid overdoing it is to listen to your body and be aware of what your joint can tolerate.

If you experience pain after walking a certain distance, after a certain exercise, or after being on your feet for a certain period of time- take note of what that time or distance is. This can help you plan rest breaks and modify activities as you need to. 

Most times, we have to learn this the hard way. But once we do, the information can be valuable by preventing future pain flares. The video below describes what to look for to determine if you’ve overdone it.

 

7. Avoid relying on passive treatments

Passive treatments include most services or products that are done to you. Examples can include massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, medications, and injections.

Now, I am by no means saying these won’t help or you shouldn’t do them. But, trouble can come when we solely rely on these for our only source of pain relief. 

It is important to find an active approach as well. Medications, pain relief gels and lotions, braces, and massage can be a great supplement to an exercise program and appropriate diet. Using both together can help to maximize your results.

With bone on bone knee pain, it’s SO important to find ways you can use food and movement to find relief too. If you don’t, you could spend the rest of your life counting down the days until your next massage or injection. We don’t want that when there are other options!

8. Avoid putting a pillow underneath your knee

With knee arthritis, you may experience tightness in the front or the back of the knee. You may also begin to experience a loss of range of motion, usually the inability to fully straighten it. 

In order to regain extension or prevent losing further range of motion we have to spend some time with our knee straight.  Placing a pillow behind the knee when resting can contribute to decreased ability to straighten your leg, especially when sitting for long periods of time. 

Maintaining or regaining the ability to straighten your knee is very important as it can dramatically affect your walking. Trying to work to get your knee straight and avoiding keeping it in a semi-bent position can help you to keep your range of motion!

If you need ideas on how to get your knee straight, check out this video.

9. Avoid getting less than 7-8 hours of sleep

According to a study on the impact sleep has on pain, it was found that 

“...experimental and clinical data indicate that sleep deprivation lowers the pain threshold, lowers the cognitive ability to cope with pain, and increases ratings of pain intensity, which in turn exacerbates poor sleep"

Turk et al. 2016

Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and recover, even more so with arthritis. With less than 7 hours of sleep, there are many potential consequences including, 

  • increased irritability
  • decreased motivation for exercise
  • higher susceptibility to eat unhealthy foods
  • higher levels of pain

…and many others.

I understand, sleep can be difficult when dealing with bone on bone knee pain. I would recommend trying to sleep with a pillow between your legs to keep your joints in a better position.

I was working with a woman who was having a burning sensation on the inside of her left knee that would wake her up at night, sometimes up to 2-3 times. After going through our one on one program that involved different exercises and diet changes, her pain at night had disappeared!

I want you to know that if you do have pain at night, there is hope that you can sleep peacefully again! Check out this video below for more tips on better sleep. 

10. Avoid unsupportive shoes

Shoes can make a big difference when it comes to bone one bone knee pain. The idea of supportive shoes is that when you are walking they absorb some of the force instead of transmitting all of it to your joints.

If your joints are already irritated and painful, more stress is not what we want. 

One of my favorite brands I recommend to all of my clients and even wear myself are called Kuru Footwear. They are specifically designed for those with arthritis, plantar fasciitis and other pains. I have a pair of the Chicane and the Atom that make my feet feel amazing.

Shoes are usually recommended to be replaced every year (maybe two if you don’t have too many miles on them!). Older shoes tend to lack support and structure they once had. If you’ve had a pair that you still wear for more than 1-2 years, it’s time to head to Kuru and get yourself a pair!

11. Avoid giving up

I want you to know that there is hope. You can do this.

It is possible to relieve your bone on bone knee pain and live a life that you love. Once you are able to find the best ways to decrease irritation, there are so many possibilities.

You do have options when it comes to finding relief. Many think that bone on bone is a one way ticket to surgery but that actually doesn’t have to be the case. Finding ways to decrease inflammation and avoiding these 10 things can get you on the right path! 

Don’t give up. You deserve a life that you love.

If you would like to get started today, download the FREE Ultimate Arthritis Guide right now! You will learn the information your doctors likely won’t tell you when it comes to managing arthritis pain naturally.

best protein for arthritis

How PROTEIN can be just as powerful as ibuprofen: 5 of the best ways to use protein for arthritis pain relief

We know that protein helps to build stronger muscles but did you know it is also anti-inflammatory? Scientists and nutrition experts have been looking into protein for arthritis and its benefits for years now. Research has shown that inadequate consumption of protein and it’s essential amino acids can actually lead to increased perceived level of pain! There are 3 essential amino acids that play an integral role in reducing inflammation and maintaining lean body mass (aka muscle)- these include endorphin, serotonin, and GABA. The best way to obtain these amino acids is to eat them in high protein foods! Let’s learn more about protein for arthritis below.

 “If arthritis symptoms are debilitating and activity is compromised, getting enough protein is essential to holding on to muscle mass and function,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, PhD, professor of aging and health at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for an article published by the Arthritis Foundation

Unfortunately a large number of the world’s population is not getting the right amount of protein. Let’s do some quick math to see if you are. Take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.7. This number is approximately the number of grams of protein you should be consuming per day…

Many times, we think we are getting way more protein than we truly are. Take a look at the protein content of common foods according to Johns Hopkins

  • An egg has 6-8 grams of protein
  • Most greek yogurts have 12-18 grams of protein
  • A typical chicken breast (4oz) has about 30 grams of protein
  • A half cup of cottage cheese has about 14 grams of protein

The idea is, you may not be consuming as much protein as you think you have been. Quite a few of my clients have been shocked, thinking they were consuming an adequate amount of protein then adding up a typical day to find out they are way under the goal.

Let’s dive into WHY you should be eating more protein and the benefits to your arthritis pain! 

I promise, increasing your protein intake will not automatically make your biceps bigger or create huge muscles like in those bikini fitness shows. Instead protein can bring healing powers for arthritis pain relief, maintain stronger bones, and reduce inflammation! Learn the 5 reasons you should be eating protein for arthritis below: 

1. Protein prevents muscle wasting

Did you know that protein is responsible for maintaining and growing your muscles? Odds are you probably did. But did you know that without the right amount of protein, your muscles are at risk for getting weak, even if you are exercising?!

We hear time and time again that strength training can have amazing effects on arthritis pain. This is because the stronger your muscles are, the more force they are able to absorb, instead of your joint having to do all of the work. If you are strength training but not intaking enough protein, you may not be building muscle like you think you are.

Strength training is meant to cause very small micro tears in your muscles and then with recovery and nutrition, they are supposed to repair to a stronger state. Much of this repair is dependent on protein. 

Different researchers have dove into the effects of protein on muscle and one interesting study highlighted the true importance of protein when exercising.

"...a modest increase in dietary protein intake... combined with progressive resistance training [strength training] in a vitamin D-replete state has resulted in a greater increase in total body and regional lean tissue mass, muscle size and strength, and functional performance than with progressive resistance training alone in elderly women"

Perna et al, 2019

With the right amount of protein, you can have bigger and stronger muscles which in turn, can make your joints stronger and more resilient even as you age. Almost every client I see, one of their main objectives is to feel stronger and more confident on their painful joints. This is one of the best ways to find arthritis pain relief.

You can use protein for arthritis pain relief by building and repairing stronger muscles such as in the picture below from a research article by de Zwart et al 2018.

protein for arthritis

2. Protein can help make endorphins

Endorphins are a chemical in our bodies that help to make us feel good and relieve pain. Our bodies naturally produce endorphins with the right pieces. Protein is able to provide vital components needed to make these endorphins.  These vital components are called amino acids. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids, giving our body the right tools to begin creating them. 

Without the appropriate amino acids, we aren’t able to make as many! 

Just how powerful are endorphins?

In general, the release of endorphins is understood to be associated with the body’s response to pain and also exercise as associated with “runner’s high.” The pain relief experienced as a result of the release of endorphins has been determined to be greater than that of morphine. Additionally, endorphins have been found to be associated with states of pleasure including such emotions brought upon by laughter, love, sex, and even appetizing food” (Chaudhry 2020)

What do endorphins have to do with arthritis pain? 

Typical pain medications work by attaching to certain receptors leading to pain relief by mimicking natural endorphins. The more endorphins we can naturally produce, the less dependent we are on pain pills. Making sure our body has the appropriate building blocks when creating this chemical is important for maximum relief!

3. Protein helps with weight loss

Weight loss is an integral part when dealing with osteoarthritis pain. Protein is a very important part of this process as it keeps you fuller for a longer period of time. 

Many times, if your meal is primarily from carbohydrates (cereal, breads, pasta, etc) you likely will feel hungry a short time after eating. If, instead, you eat lean meat, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, or even a protein bar- you usually can go longer without feeling like you need to eat again. 

This in turn can decrease the number of times you are snacking throughout the day and decreasing caloric intake.

Besides just the intake, as mentioned above, protein helps with lean muscle building and recovery. I heard this quote in a recent podcast episode from the Consistency Project where EC Synkowski went on to explain that “muscle tissue is expensive” meaning it takes a lot of calories to support it. The more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you burn.

If you have little muscle mass, you may have to eat less calories to lose weight compared to someone with a higher muscle mass because they are using more calories throughout the day.

Starting a strength training routine is your best bet to start building muscle no matter your age! Now, the younger you are, you likely will build muscle a little quicker but it’s never too late to start and you can still reap AMAZING benefits. 

What does weight loss and muscle mass have to do with arthritis? The less body fat you have, the less inflammation you will carry. This means your joints will be less irritated! Also the more lean muscle mass you have, the easier weight loss can become. Find out 14 other ways you can reduce inflammation here.

If you would love tips on how to get started with strength training with arthritis, here is a free webinar that has all of the basics you need to know! 

4. Protein can be anti-inflammatory

Most foods that are high in protein, likely are healthier and more quality food sources. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are still some foods that are high in protein but may not be the most nutritious. For example, some protein bars and greek yogurts have just as as much fat and added sugar as some candy bars! 

But for the most part, a homemade protein smoothie, lean meats cooked at home, cottage cheese, beans cooked at home, and other higher protein foods are not as highly processed as foods high in carbohydrates and fats can be.

Many of these processed foods that are high in simple carbohydrates, saturated and trans fats can be inflammatory. Common culprits can be sugary foods and drinks, low fat, sugar free, and fat free options of foods, and foods that typically come in boxes with a long list of ingredients.

Focusing on protein can help to get more nutrients out of foods. We can’t lose sight though that just because it has protein in it, does not make it healthy. Natural foods that are typically found on the perimeter of the grocery store is a great place to start. 

Take a look at the ingredients. Try to consume at least a protein source at every meal (number of grams will be dependent on how many total grams you need throughout the day).

Protein for arthritis can be extremely powerful to drive down inflammation if we are focusing on the right things primarily including quality of food choices.

If you would like a list of the best anti-inflammatory foods, head to this post

5. Protein helps you age well

As we get older, some of our body processes become less efficient and the way our bodies handle protein is one of them. This is coined “anabolic resistance“.

According to an article on InForm: “Anabolic resistance means that the signals to build up muscle through strength training or eating protein is muted in older adults. Luckily, This resistance can be overcome with an increased amount of strength training or a higher intake of protein.”

A higher intake of protein ensures you still build muscle and prevent the loss of muscle mass you have. 

If you have osteoarthritis, you are at a higher risk to develop anabolic resistance due to the presence of inflammation and potentially decreased activity levels secondary to joint pain. 

Without the right amount of protein, you will continue to lose muscle mass. This can put you at risk for more arthritis pain and increased difficulty completing simple tasks.

Conclusion

Protein is extremely important as you get older but has even more importance if you have osteoarthritis. It can help you build muscle, find pain relief, lose weight, and age well! Making sure you get the appropriate amount of protein is vital to your success in keeping your adventure alive with arthritis. 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

References:

Chaudhry SR, Gossman W. Biochemistry, Endorphin. [Updated 2020 Aug 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470306/

Dragan S, Șerban MC, Damian G, Buleu F, Valcovici M, Christodorescu R. Dietary Patterns and Interventions to Alleviate Chronic Pain. Nutrients. 2020;12(9):2510. Published 2020 Aug 19. doi:10.3390/nu12092510

de Zwart AH, van der Leeden M, Roorda LD, et al. Dietary protein intake and upper leg muscle strength in subjects with knee osteoarthritis: data from the osteoarthritis initiative. Rheumatol Int. 2019;39(2):277-284. doi:10.1007/s00296-018-4223-x

Perna S, Alalwan TA, Al-Thawadi S, et al. Evidence-Based Role of Nutrients and Antioxidants for Chronic Pain Management in Musculoskeletal Frailty and Sarcopenia in Aging. Geriatrics (Basel). 2020;5(1):16. Published 2020 Mar 6. doi:10.3390/geriatrics5010016

squat with knee pain

5 Surprising Ways You Can Learn to Squat With Knee Pain

Learning to squat with knee pain can be pivotal in unlocking knee osteoarthritis pain relief. Chronic knee pain is typically caused by muscle asymmetries, stiffness, thoughts about pain, and more. The good news is, almost all of these are able to be fixed and you will be able to squat again. You squat countless times per day and have been since the caveman era. It is actually NORMAL to be able to squat without chronic knee pain. Here are the reasons why you need to learn how to squat with knee pain.

Squats can be one of the most painful movements with knee osteoarthritis, chronic knee pain, and/or following a total joint replacement. But, squats are one of THE if not THE most important movement that you do during daily life. 

Most of our ancestors depended on the deep squat! Our bodies are meant to squat but why do people start to develop pain with this movement? 

There are many reasons we as humans have developed knee pain when squatting, that we are going to look at in this post. 

Learning to squat with knee pain can be frustrating. Squats can feel awkward and I’ve even had some people describe it as embarrassing when trying to squat down to pick something up in public.

If you are feeling this way, I want you to know that you are not alone. This is why I want to tell you the 5 ways you can learn how to squat with knee pain so you gain more confidence and hopefully less pain! 

If you are dealing with bone on bone knee osteoarthritis, there are a few other considerations you should make first and this article can give you the low down. 

5 ways to learn how to squat with knee pain

The chronic knee pain you may be feeling when squatting could be for many different reasons. And likely it is actually from a combination of these reasons below. 

These may be things that you have not heard of before but the idea is to highlight things you need to work on. Not all of these ways may apply to you and that’s okay!

Choose at least the top 2 to begin working on. Once you improve in these areas, you should be able to find powerful knee pain relief.

Lesson #1: Squat Form

Try this experiment to test your squat form.

Stand up from where you are and try to do a squat, bend down and stand up how you usually would. 

Think about how it feels:

  • Do you have any pain?
  • Do you have difficulty squatting lower? 
  • Does it feel awkward or just not right?

Now, stand in front of a chair. Squat down to sit down and then stand back up. Does it feel any different? Does it feel better? 

For most of the people I do this with, the squat dramatically changes from when you have a chair behind you to when you are free squatting. This video below explains this exact situation and what to do instead.

In summary of the video above, when the knees bend first during a squat, they tend to take most of the load. This is one the of the most common problems I find when people squat with knee pain.

Now try to squat again, think about bending the hips first NOT the knees. You can even take your hands and physically push your hips back like in the video.

How does this feel? It’s okay if it feels weird at first or if you feel like you are going to lose your balance backwards (please do in front of a couch or bed if you do 😁 )

This is typically one of the first things I look at when seeing someone reporting knee pain with squatting. This tends to be one of the most common problems that leads to joint pain, especially with increased knee bend.

This test can also be turned into an exercise and can be a great way to teach your body how to squat properly again. Practice using your hips when you are doing anything squatting related (up/down from the toilet, in/out of car, up/down from chair, picking something up, etc).

Practice makes perfect.

This can make a world of difference to knee osteoarthritis pain and is arguably one of the most important lessons to learn.

Lesson #2: Overcome your pain with your thoughts

This may sound a little voodoo at first, but I wouldn’t be putting it in here if it didn’t work!

Especially when dealing with knee arthritis, I see quite a few people that have pain with squats because they are expecting it. Now I know this sounds crazy but it’s true. 

If you are anticipating pain when you have to get in the car, bend down to sit on the toilet, or when you have to squat down to a chair- you will likely have pain. 

Don’t get me wrong, the pain is real when you have it. But sometimes you can further convince our bodies that the squat is a potentially dangerous movement if you expect pain every time we do it.

If you think “Man, this is going to be painful” then your mind thinks that’s actually what you want to happen! 

Your words are very powerful especially when trying to squat with knee pain. If you don’t believe me, I would highly recommend checking out the video below with Marisa Peer, a world renowned psychologist. She states: “First you make your beliefs, then your beliefs make you.”

If you start trying positive self talk, you may actually be shocked at the results.

If each time you go to squat, you tell yourself some variation of “I can do this” you may start to notice you feel more confident in the movement.

This idea is worth entertaining, I promise.

But this is not something that will likely lead to immediate change in pain. It does take some discipline to start looking at your knee pain in a more positive and optimistic light. But when you do, you may notice a drastic difference.

Lesson #3: taking care of stiffness

“I just want to be able to squat like everyone else” is something I hear from clients all the time.

When I bend down into a deep squat to demonstrate during a session, I hear “Man I wish I could do that”. 

Well guess what, YOU TOTALLY CAN!

In order to regain squat depth like in the cave man picture at the beginning of the article, you have to make sure your joints are free how they need to.

Joint stiffness can have a significant impact on your ability to squat.

With stiffness being one of the leading symptoms of osteoarthritis (learn what the other 3 common symptoms are here!) your joints can be holding you back from getting down into a lower squat. 

There are a few ways to relieve joint stiffness and regain mobility. But it’s not only the knee that you need to be focused on.

The four main joints that limit squatting ability are typically knees, hips, ankles, and/or spine (upper and/or lower back).  This is why it is so important to look at all of these when figuring out where you need to work on most. I’ve heard physical therapists are great at this 🙂

When you try to squat with knee pain, your ankles may be the primary limiter. You may also be surprised at how limited they are in range of motion.

That is why I included this video below so you can see if your ankles are the culprit- and if they are, what to do about it.

Lesson #4: Strong hips are key

If you are having knee pain when squatting, your hips may be a huge part of the problem.

Think about the movements you typically do day-to-day. Like walking forwards, getting up and down from a chair, going up and down the stairs, etc. 

If you notice, all these movements are in a forward direction. Likely, you rarely spend time deliberately moving side to side or backwards.

This is important because when you are constantly moving forwards, your thigh muscles do most of the work. The problem with this is that your hips and the backs of your legs tend to get neglected.

Now add walking as primary form of exercise and thus you have more forward movement.

Take this example. A client I met with was very active walking, occasionally running, and riding his bike. But, he started to develop knee pain that just wouldn’t go away. Upon assessment, he also had knee pain when squatting. Taking a look at his training, he was primarily all in one direction, forwards.

This is a very common scenario which is why it is being addressed here.

Variety in movement is crucial to keeping well-rounded, strong legs. When you were younger, likely you got your variety of movement from sports (which you can still do with arthritis!), playing with friends, and the increased willingness to try new activities.

But as we tend to get older, these activities may seem less desirable due to pain, weakness, or fear of injuring yourself.

It can be difficult to achieve this variety, especially when dealing with pain because you may be unsure if the exercises you are picking are good for your joints. This was the trap the gentleman above was falling into.

The answer to this problem: add variety. This can include:

With the gentleman in the scenario above, I added some lateral movements to work his outside hip muscles and some other exercises to help strengthen the back of his legs. His knee pain when squatting slowly started to go away once he were able to regain strength. This created a well rounded knee joint, getting support from all sides! 

If you are feeling unsure of which exercises to start with, I created a free 5 day arthritis friendly workout challenge can show you exactly how to move without flaring up your knee pain!

You will get 5 days of workouts that will help add variety to your training and show your knees some love.

knee pain when squatting no more

Lesson #5: Improve your balance

Now what does balance have anything to do with learning how to squat with knee pain? Actually, way more than you think!

Part of decreasing knee pain involves being comfortable shifting your weight backwards. Also your ability to stabilize yourself moving sideways a and backwards is vital too.

Your balance skills may surprise you. Even if you aren’t falling over the place your balance may not be as great as you think. 

When you have appropriate balance, your muscles are all working together as a team. This team is successful when each muscle is doing its job. When we have pain, and/or a strength or mobility deficit, your team may start to experience some dysfunctions. These dysfunctions can then lead to increased joint pain because it alters how your joint accepts stress.

If your balance is better on one leg than the other or if you feel as though your balance is “off”, this could be contributing to your pain. 

To test your balance I want you to try this test in the video below. It is a little harder than it looks!

If you are looking to squat without knee pain it is so important that your balance is good. It is important that once you master the basics of balance (can be found here) then you progress to higher level activities like this one. 

If it is hard for you to do, don’t worry! It’s actually a good thing because now you know a potential reason why you may be having knee pain when squatting.

This ultimate balance challenge can give highlight any potential balance deficits and asymmetries. Keep in mind, this is only one test, but it’s an important one.

If you notice balance impairments, begin working to improve your balance. It will actually help your squat.

Adding support when you are squatting can also help to prevent compensations that may be going on. Here are some examples of how to modify squats

Conclusion

There are a few different ways you can learn to squat with knee pain. Commonly, pain originates from a combination of things and it is unlikely pain is coming from one singular thing- especially if you have started to experience gradual pain without any injury.

The most important thing is to know that knee pain when squatting is not normal and can be fixed.

There have been many people who have been dealing with knee pain for months and/or years thinking it’s because of age or getting older.

These reasons are important to think about when looking at why your chronic knee pain is occuring. 

The longer you try to ignore this pain, it will likely continue to get worse.

If you are dealing with knee osteoarthritis and are looking for ways you can build stronger legs without having to worry about  if you are doing the right exercises, hop on over and grab the Knee Osteoarthritis Exercise Guide!

One of the most common things I hear is that people avoid exercise because they are in pain and not sure if what they are doing will cause more damage.

Resting is one of the worst things you can do, especially for chronic knee pain and osteoarthritis. It’s time to take action and get control over your knee pain with squats.

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

what is knee osteoarthritis

The Ultimate Guide to Knee Osteoarthritis: Where to start, what to expect, and more- The 5 BURNING questions

Knee Osteoarthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis, not wear and tear. There are so many misconceptions out but we are going to make it simple for you. The hardest part about a knee osteoarthritis diagnosis is not knowing where to go next and constantly worrying about if what you are doing is the right thing for pain relief. You will be able to answer: what is knee osteoarthritis, where do I start after a knee osteoarthritis diagnosis, and how do I best help my knee joints! 

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“Per the x-ray we just did, it appears you have knee osteoarthritis.”

“The next thing you need to do is lose weight and start exercising but you won’t ever really be able to stop the progression.”

“I’ll see you back in 6 months.”

Does this sound familiar?! 

I hope it doesn’t, but unfortunately, this is what many people have to go through when getting a diagnosis of knee osteoarthritis. 

You go see your family doctor, rheumatologist, or other physician for your knee pain that has been gradually getting worse. Most often they will take an x-ray or even an MRI to rule out any major injuries or reasons for pain. 

They find some arthritic changes in your joint, loss of cartilage and loss of space in the joint itself which you’re told explains your pain. Osteoarthritis.

It can be both scary and overwhelming to hear that word. I’m sure you’ve heard or seen others struggling with this disease and it can be hard to imagine that now it is happening to you. 

The main mission of this ultimate guide is to give you hope. I want to answer your questions, give you the real information you need to know and  show you that your life isn’t over because you have knee osteoarthritis.

I have seen hundreds of people with knee osteoarthritis and have helped them truly understand the best ways to take care of their knees while still living an active, adventurous life.

You’ll learn stories of men and women who overcame knee osteoarthritis and are able to now do things like running, jumping, walking without a cane, and more. This could be possible for you to if you follow these next tips closely.

If you want a fast track to success like Staci below, the Arthritis Adventure Blueprint can get you on the exact path to pain relief, even with bone on bone knee arthritis! 

The keys to success with knee arthritis

Table of Contents

You will learn important steps you need to take in order to manage pain, prevent your knees from getting worse, and how to continue to lead an active life. Not only is it important to learn what these steps are but it is also important to implement them as well. Without action, your pain likely will continue to get worse and it could be a fast track to surgery. 

Make sure you save this post for later and share with your friends when you’re done reading because I promise you, this is your Ultimate Guide to Knee Osteoarthritis.

What is Knee Osteoarthritis?

I guarantee the first thing you will see when you type this question into Google is “deterioration of cartilage” or “degeneration of the joint from wear and tear” in almost every article on the first page. You may have even been told these things by medical professionals. 

The truth is, knee osteoarthritis is primarily driven by inflammation and there is emerging recent research out there looking at exactly that.

"The past decade has seen a gradual but fundamental shift in our understanding of the mechanisms underlying OA. We no longer view [osteoarthritis] as a prototypical degenerative disease resulting from normal bodily wear and tear, but rather as a multifactorial disorder in which low-grade, chronic inflammation has a central role"

Robinson et al. 2016

This is actually good news and I’ll explain why.

If osteoarthritis was a degenerative condition caused simply by “wear and tear” you would have no hope for pain relief and everyone that had knee osteoarthritis would end up needing surgery. Also, movement would continue to make the condition worse which is the opposite of what exactly is true. 

Knee osteoarthritis is caused by many different factors that can allow inflammation to become out of control. These factors, then contribute to the further irritation of your knee joints. 

There is a strong genetic component as well but if you are aware of what continues to irritate the joint, you can live with a tolerable level of knee arthritis and prevent it from getting worse. Even though many of us have a family history of the inherent susceptibility to more inflammatory cells, this also means your knee joint is “bad”. Instead, it is just, quite frankly, angry and we can use specific tactics to decrease the amplification of the anger!

Since osteoarthritis has a strong inflammatory background, if we can control the inflammation- we likely can control both the pain and the progression.

Where Do I Need to Start if I Have Been Diagnosed with Knee osteoarthritis?

From the previous section, we know that if we can control inflammation, we can lessen the irritation and our symptoms. In the video above, you will find some ideas to get you started on the path to reducing inflammation in your body. The FIRST step is understanding how you can most easily reduce inflammation from your life.

There are a few ways that are going to help decrease inflammation more significantly than others, so these should become your priorities. It is important to note that each person’s priorities are going to be different depending on how they live their lives. You essentially need to look at three categories and think about which one has the most room for improvement in your own life.

  1. Food: what you are eating, how much you are eating, and are you getting enough nutrients?
  2. Movement: what are you doing for exercise, how often, and how motivated you are when doing it.
  3. Emotion: are you constantly stressed, tired, frustrated, overworked, anxious or overwhelmed? Do you believe nothing can be done about your pain?

Each of these things can impact your levels of inflammation in your body.

If you find yourself eating out quite frequently, frequently binge on processed foods, or are not eating enough- these are all scenarios in which food should be a priority. Check out the best anti-inflammatory foods to get started with here.

If you find yourself avoiding exercise, getting <10 minutes per day of exercise, or if your only exercise is a monostructural movement such as walking, cycling, or running- exercise should be considered a priority. Learn more about how exercise can work wonders for osteoarthritis here.

If you find yourself constantly displaying the emotions above or if you are constantly living life on edge, your emotions could be increasing your inflammation levels.

This is one people commonly do not think about. Let’s look a little deeper into how emotions impact inflammation from Stacey Colino,  an award winning writer, specializing in health and psychology:

"Emotional inflammation refers to the psychological and emotional state of constantly being on edge, angst-ridden, hyper-reactive or hyper-vigilant, full of dread, or generally filled with a WTF!!! feeling about what’s happening in the world. But it does have physiological ripple effects because when you have cortisol coursing through your body 24/7, there’s an inflammatory cascade, where your blood flow and blood pressure increase, your muscles tense up, your heart rate and breathing rate shoot up, and so on."

Stacey Colino

In order to start turning your emotions and working on a positive mindset, this article puts things into perspective

Choosing one of these three items can truly help you get on the right path to long term pain relief. If we try to focus on and change everything at once, we are setting ourselves up for failure. Remember, one step at a time. 

What should I expect with knee osteoarthritis?

When you receive the diagnosis, it can be scary because the future seems unknown to you. You’re not sure what you are going to be feeling and doing years from now. 

The hard part in answering this question is that everyone has different experiences. The severity and impact on your life is highly dependent on how you live your life and your mindset about your osteoarthritis. The path and symptoms if we take action may be completely different than those who didn’t know other options were available. 

Common symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are explained here.

You may experience all or just a few of the symptoms mentioned. Here are some other things, not explained in this article you should expect:

  • Discomfort with exercise and other movements like climbing stairs, especially when starting or with a new onset. This pain typically tends to stay around 0-4/10 and is totally normal.
  •  You may experience some swelling, especially after a lot of activity. The swelling should subside after a day or two.
  • You may notice short bouts of significant pain with a flare up. I have known people who had a flare up once a year and those that have them about 1-2 times per month. This is partially dependent on controlling inflammation, the weather outside (increased pain with changes in weather and cold weather). This pain typically lasts 24-72 hours usually followed by full recovery.
  • Appropriate control of inflammation can usually relieve pain up to 80-90%. There may be times where you experience increased pain but this increased pain is usually not significant. This is because most of the time we don’t see it as much of a threat with a positive mindset. 

I know exercise is good, what exercises are the best and which should I avoid?

This is a common question so you are not alone! The goal is to keep your knees happy without flaring them up. This is possible, contrary to popular belief! But the number one thing most people are lacking is…

Variety.

Many times we are told by healthcare professionals, friends, neighbors, or family that all we can do with knee osteoarthritis is swim and walk. No jumping, no running, no high impact activities ever again. 

That is simply not the case for most people if you can master variety, your joints should be prepared to potentially handle these activities (again, it’s important to remember that everyone is different).

I recently was working with someone who finally returned to running for the first time in 5 years after dedicating herself to strengthening her body to prepare her joints for it! 

The key though, aside from variety is to strengthen not only your knees but other joints as well, particularly hips, ankles, and back/core. With these two principles you are so much more likely to succeed. 

You can add variety lots of different ways to help with your knee osteoarthritis. For example, adding in sideways and backwards movements before or after your walk can absolutely make a difference.

If walking is your primary form of exercise, watch this video below to learn exactly how to relieve knee osteoarthritis pain or prevent it from getting worse by adding a few simple things.

Here is a bonus article about how to hike with arthritic knees too! 

If you want to get started on the right foot with exercise, adding in exercises like side stepping, supported squats, and backwards kicks can be a great start.

The idea is to find exercises and exercise variations that don’t flare up pain. If you are new to exercise, try this video below to get started. If you love this, I have a 5 day arthritis-friendly workout challenge that you’ll also LOVE. 

What should I look for in my knee osteoarthritis x-ray?

To be quite frank, x-rays don’t really matter. Whenever I see a client for knee osteoarthritis, I usually do not even look at the x-ray. Findings on x-rays like loss of cartilage and loss of joint space don’t necessarily correlate with pain and there has been a lot of research on that. 

For example, one study found that “The prevalence of knee osteoarthritis features on MRI in otherwise healthy, asymptomatic, uninjured knees is high— up to 43% in adults aged ≥40 years.” This means that there are people walking around out there that would have changes on their MRI similar to those found in patients with knee arthritis but they don’t have pain. 

So the question is, why do some have pain and others don’t with the same “joint damage”. This is where inflammation, lifestyle factors like the foods we eat, and genetics comes in. The more inflammation you have, the more likely you are to have pain. 

Instead of focusing and tediously looking into your x-rays, instead you should look at why you are in pain compared to someone who may have an x-ray that looks similar to yours. The findings on your x-rays may show normal signs of aging and this may not be the reason you are in pain.

For example, one woman who I have been working with had an x-ray that showed a minor meniscus injury and beginnings of knee arthritis due to lessening of the cartilage and narrowing of the joint space. A surgeon wanted to schedule surgery almost immediately but instead she went the natural route and now guess what….she’s the one RUNNING again. 

X-rays are not what we should base our thinking on, even if it is “bone on bone” or the “worst we have ever seen” (trust me if I had a dime for every time I heard that a client was told their knee was the “worst they have ever seen and they have no idea how you are even walking”, I’d be on a beach somewhere living in the Virgin Islands.

What does my future look like?

It is possible for your pain to become tolerable and plateau. Knee osteoarthritis pain does not have to progress. You’re pain doesn’t have to get worse if you can find ways to outsmart it.

Mindset plays a huge role in this. If you sit back and think, “there is just nothing I can do about this knee osteoarthritis pain, it runs in my family” then you need to hear this.

All too often we succumb to our arthritis pain because we simply don’t know that there are options available to us for pain relief. We also continue to believe that the long list of things that we think we can’t do has to dictate our lives.

There are options for pain relief and possibilities are out there, even if you have knee osteoarthritis! Understanding your osteoarthritis, learning how to manage it, and having a positive mindset are absolutely the most important keys to success when finding relief.

If you would love to join a supportive community of people 50+ who have arthritis but are looking to remain active and healthy, come join us! 

What about stem cells for arthritis pain relief?

Stem cells for arthritis pain relief is a common option people find when searching for treatments that are available. Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy can be an alternative to surgery with less risk as they accelerate your body’s own healing process in a noninvasive way. 

There are considerations to be made when it comes to considering if stem cell therapy is the right choice for you. A few of these considerations include: 

  • this procedure is not typically covered by insurance providers and can be pricey
  • you may need to go in for more than one procedure
  • similar to cortisone shots, results are not guaranteed
  • this option carries much less risk compared to other surgical procedures
  • there has been great success for select patients
  • leading an active, healthy lifestyle will maximize your results including exercise, weight loss, and proper nutrition

So what is stem cell therapy like? What can I expect?

You can expect short, non-invasive procedures like having blood drawn. Once the harvesting is done, the physician will often use an ultrasound or fluoroscopy to precisely target and inject the stem cells into the injured area. You may experience some pain and swelling right after the procedure. Depending on the severity of your condition and the procedure done, you may recover within as little as 1-2 days. More severe problems will require more significant procedures and longer recovery. Many patients experience results within a few weeks and continue to see the improvement until about four months.

Joe Albano, MD and regenerative medicine specialist in Cottonwood Heights, UT

For more information, check out a very informative interview I did with Dr. Albano to answer your questions regarding stem cell therapy, PRP injections and more!

Are you believing myths about knee osteoarthritis?

One of the biggest problems we find when asking people about their knee pain is that they are believing the wrong things! When we believe these myths to be true, that’s when we can find ourselves in trouble. They can actually be making our pain WORSE.

Here’s the deal: Understanding the truths about knee pain can set you free. There are 3 main myths we find almost everyone believes. Want to see if you have been believing the wrong things, inevitably making your pain worse? Download our free guide below! 

Disclaimer: This post is for general informational purposes only. It should not be used to self-diagnose and it is not a substitute for a medical exam, cure, treatment, diagnosis, and prescription or recommendation. It does not create a doctor-patient relationship between Dr. Kuhn and you. You should not make any change in your health regimen or diet before first consulting a physician and obtaining a medical exam, diagnosis, and recommendation. Move Well Age Well, LLC and Dr. Alyssa Kuhn, PT, DPT are not liable or responsible for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any conclusions drawn, services or product you obtain through this video or site.

arthritis adventure blueprint

The Arthritis Adventure Blueprint

Dr. Alyssa Kuhn’s signature program to help you go from hopeless to hopeful with osteoarthritis. You will learn the secrets to arthritis pain relief that actually work- including exercise, diet, and other ways to control inflammation! Say goodbye to short term pain relief, it’s time to make it last.