I need to know the truth about OA in the knees

Blueskyday68 Member Posts: 95
edited 24. Aug 2021, 18:05 in Living with arthritis

Hi I am sorry this may upset people on this wonderfull community but Iam wondering what is the truth about OA in the knees some People say you can manage it some people say you are in so much pain you cant live your life Iam confused and worried about it can someone please tell me the truth thanks


  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,713

    The truth is that there is no single truth that will apply to everyone as @Lilymary said in your other thread.

    There is much we can to help tip the scales in our favour and, if you read up on what Versus Arthritis says about OA, you'll find lots of tips such as:

    Exercise sensibly according to what's good for our knees not what we prefer. (Physio advice is good for this.)

    Keep to a healthy diet and weight.

    Don't smoke.

    Be flexible in our thinking. Rather than wanting to keep to all we had before we must be prepared to let some things go and then take up interesting new things to replace them.

    I've had arthritis since I was 15. RA first then OA joined in. I've had knees and hips replaced. And I've had a very good, fulfilling life which has changed many, many times. I hope you can have as much fun as I've had.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,740

    I would echo what stickywicket has said. There’s no one truth, one size fits all. The condition itself is what it is, but how people are affected varies enormously. There are ways you can help reduce its impact on your mobility, but there’s no way for anyone to predict how bad it will get except perhaps your rheumatologist by looking at your xrays and talking through how you feel it has deteriorated in recent months.

    Even then, it’s hard to predict. I have recently had a hip replaced. I didn’t even know I had arthritis until I had a fall and my hip became very stiff and painful, so they xrayed me and told me the OA was so bad I already needed a new hip. It had been creeping up on me without me realising. It was a rapid downhill slide after that, I was in awful pain 24/7 and my mobility nosedived in a matter of months from walks in the country to a painful shuffle round the supermarket using the trolley as a walking aid. I know I have OA in my other hip, but it’s never given me any trouble so far. Even my surgeon said it was hard to say when I might need a new hip, if ever, as he can’t predict how fast it may deteriorate. So what was “true” for me with one hip may not be “true” for the other. And that’s comparing two joints in the same body, never mind comparing different people’s experiences. It’s not hurting at the moment, so I’m just going to get on with life,

    So it’s really hard for anyone to say how the arthritis in your knees will affect you. There’s no one truth, no one is hiding anything from you, it’s just that it can be very individual and unpredictable.

    It can be a big adjustment getting your head around it, but you’re not alone, and it doesn’t mean the end of life as you know it. You’ll need to make some adjustments, but for everything you find too hard to continue, replace it with something new you’ll enjoy. There are other lifelong arthritis sufferers like Stickywicket on this forum, and all will say they have lived happy and fulfilling lives despite their arthritis.

    Do keep posting on here, we all know how rotten this can get, and this is the best place to come when you’re having a wobble.

    LM x

  • Blueskyday68

    Thank you for your wonderful advice

  • RachelM
    RachelM Member Posts: 2

    I have OA in both knees and both behaved very differently, so it's very difficult to predict the process. My left knee was the first to go, about 7 years ago, it started locking at the back of the knee. This was about a month before I was due to go on a ski-ing holiday so I had it X-rayed and was told I had OA and that it would get worse over time. I was told that ski-ing wouldn't damage it more which was my worry, but it would be very sore and the consultant was correct in that one. I don't go ski-ing anymore.

    I was given a range of exercises from my physio and slowly over time it got much better and apart from a little stiffness it doesn't give me much trouble.

    Then about 3or4 years ago my right knee became very stiff and again after an X-Ray I was told I had OA. I still do exercises every day but they didn't work so well on this one and my right leg is now bent, I cannot fully straighten it. When I had it X-Rayed my consultant said he was surprised that my left knee wasn't at that stage. I walk regulary and have recently got back into doing Pilates although I modify some of the exercises as standing on one leg for some of the exercises results in me getting shin splints. I'm finding it uncomfortable to drive especially in rush hour when there's a lot of clutch work and so am thinking about changing my car for an automatic one.

    The problem I have is at what stage do I have the knee replacement. I can't do the things I used to do. I can still walk about 3 miles with the help of trekking poles/orthopedic insoles/knee brace but I'm much slower now. It gives me some pain at night now usually around the ankle and shin rather than the knee, it's quite bent which affects my gait. I try not to get down about it as I know there are others a lot worse of than me. If I leave it too long then will I do more damage and will the operation not be as successful?

    I am terrified of the operation-I need a full knee replacement.

    I would be interested to hear at what stage did others have their operation.

    Best regards,