knee OA - therapies to dodge or delay knee replacement

Hi Im 53 with ongoing knee OA due mainly to meniscus surgery in the 1990's. I am trying to ward off a knee replacement but not sure when to give up the good fight. One knee regularly swells up but not much pain - just weak and bloated. The other occasionally gives a twinge but fine really. MRI and X-Ray show both have little enough meniscus that both could be replaced so Dr's say to be led by my symptoms.

Im doing the right baseline stuff - a healthy mostly Mediterranean diet (live in Italy), rarely drink, don't smoke, I do strength workouts 2-3 times a week, outdoors a lot for swimming, easy walking. I was skiing regularly season before last, taking it easy I had a bit of pain but not this past season due to OA.

I don't have much hope for pills or supplements. Im prepared to work/suffer for a result. Currently focused on 45 mins of daily physical therapy following guidance (sometimes conflicting) from two online courses including kneesovertoesguy (e.g. backwards walking) and oldelpaso on you tube

Anyone have any experience of the above or other suggestions which have actively halted or regressed knee OA? Should I just face the inevitable and replace to get quality of life - is replacement that bad?

Thoughts and experiences welcome.

Kind regards



  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 635

    Hi @harrison  

    Welcome to the versus arthritis forum. 

    You have OA of the knee and are doing your utmost to ward off a knee replacement operation. You’d like to hear from any forum members who can offer you advice as to what other steps you could take or should you just accept the inevitable. 

    Whilst you await some feedback, you may find this link useful:


    This link provides some useful pre and post-surgery exercises:


    I hope you receive some useful feedback. 

    Best Wishes

    ChrisB (Moderator)

    Need more help - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi @harrison and welcome,

    I'm sort of in a similar position, aged 56 with severe OA in both knees. I do want replacements and on the NHS waiting list but as it could be many, many months possibly years before it's done then I've had to find other coping strategies.

    So, like you I'm very active walking half a mile a day, cycling, hiking and several gym sessions per week. My condition has deteriorated since my original diagnosis a little over a year ago because I refused to give up the Badminton and Running I loved and therefore finally eroded what little cartilage I had. Nonetheless, I'm now managing my condition pretty well and in less pain and able to do more than this time last year.

    There is a lot of information on this website about pain management and it's very good indeed. Having read what you've written I'd be tempted to home in on pain management, physio and joint strengthening exercises. The theory is that strengthening the tendons and muscles around the affected joints not only makes them less prone to injury because they'll come under strain, but will help "prop up" the joint itself. There are some excellent videos for what physio and stretching exercises you can do to get started. Low impact sport like cycling will help too but many people find they need good pain management to allow them to do this, sort of a "chicken and egg" scenario I guess.

    You've written you have a swollen, weak knee. It could be worth speaking with your doctor about anti-inflammatories and wearing elasticated knee supports to aid stability. In terms of diet, Olives are rich in a substance with very similar properties to Ibuprofen, I eat loads most days and even the oil has this stuff in it as well. Omega 3 rich foods like oily fish and eggs are good natural anti-inflammatories and so are dark-leafed green veg.

    If you do begin to experience pain, I find a TENS machine very effective and also a deep tissue massaging gun for helping with muscle and tendon stiffness.

    Good luck!


  • harrison
    harrison Member Posts: 6

    Thanks Jon, very helpful tips on diet and the massage gun (assume its one of those black affairs I've seen in the tech sections at airports I'll look into that) - also good to know there are other not so old folks affected - I thought this was a problem for my 70's or 80's...

  • Jules70
    Jules70 Member Posts: 65

    Hi Harrison ,

    im 53 and have had both my knees replaced 2 years ago through severe Oesteoarthiritis .

    I started having symptoms of oa at 48 years old was told at the time I wasn’t a candidate for joint surgery was discharged after having an arthroscopy which diagnosed my condition.

    I was put on waiting list for right replacement just before covid pandemic but was getting nowhere so my GP referred me to private hospital under nhs saw consultant who ordered MRI X-rays was told I would need both knees replacing .

    I had both my knees replaced at spire hospital within a 6 month period.

    it is a major surgery with a long and up down recovery do need to commit to rehabilitation .

    my knees were very bad before my surgery didn’t have any choice in getting them both done as I couldn’t walk any distance was in severe pain .

    I don’t have any regrets my knees are so much better than before .

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    You're welcome @harrison,

    DTM Guns look like hairdryers with an attachment. Amazon stock a good range for all budgets. I don't see the need to spend big bucks on one - as long as it's rechargeable and comes with attachments then that's good enough. My one has 3 settings (I only ever use the highest) and I like an attachment which looks like a Squash ball (which it probably is), too easy to bruise with the plastic ones but it's all personal choice!