Just got diagnosed with osteoarthritis, affecting knees and ankle, keen to find ways to manage it :)

CrumbyGirl Member Posts: 5
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:11 in Living with arthritis

Hello folks and look forward to getting to know you on this community!

I'm 53F, live in Northern Ireland, just got diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Had two ankle arthroscopies as well.

I'm keen to learn ways to manage the condition and minimise its impact on me. Trying to get more exercise (after the two ankle arthroscopies, got quite sedentary) and back pain stopped me walking for the last couple of years too. So sloooooowly easing myself back into exercise. I like swimming (but breaststroke aggravates my knees) and cycling (just have to be careful on hills as same). I've started doing the Versus Arthritis daily exercises for ankles and knees which I'm finding quite good, hopefully that will help too.

I need to lose weight too, so I'm aiming to lose 10% of my bodyweight to start and hopefully that will help with the symptoms.

I drink turmeric and ginger juice which I make every morning, have been doing that for a few weeks don't see any benefit as yet but hopefully it will help in time :)

Keen to hear how others manage the condition and lifestyle changes that have worked for them. Or if you lost weight/started an exercise regime to help with symptoms, what worked for you.

Looking forward to chatting with you all over next few weeks and months :)


  • Anna
    Anna Moderator Posts: 873

    Hi @CrumbyGirl and welcome to the online community,

    It's great to hear the really positive start you've made to living with your recent diagnosis of osteoarthritis. All the activities you mention - diet, nutrition, exercise, complementary treatments - are so important to living the best life you can. It sounds like you've been looking at the Versus Arthritis website too - it's a really great resource and the exercises are very good indeed (as I personally have found out). One of the stories of our members is quite inspiring and has several useful links:

    Do have a look round the website and join in any conversations you feel comfortable - I'm sure you have a great deal to contribute and will receive helpful advice from others. Here's a thread that might interest you about lifestyle changes that you might like to join in:

    I look forward to hearing more from you!

    Anna (Moderator)

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

  • Thanks Anna! I'll have an explore and see what's going on :)

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 357

    Welcome @CrumbyGirl,

    I think you're definitely going the right way about things - exercise and physio targeted at your affected joints will help to strengthen the tissue and tendons surrounding them and that's important because you may experience the usual symtoms of OA (stiffness, fever, achiness, swelling, throbbing and aching in the joints themselves) plus soreness from these other areas as they take up the slack from your weakened knees and ankles.

    Topping up physio with low impact exercise such as swimming, cycling, walking and gymwork will not only hasten this process but benefit you mentally and of course, keep you fit and help you meet your weight loss goals. It does take time and I can recommend an introduction to weight lifting equipment at your local gym specifically for knees, I found this really helped my knees motor when it came to strengthening them.

    Many new sufferers report finding it hard to be active without effective pain relief and there's only so much GP's can do, the rest is up to us through self-help. There is a lot of info on this website about supplements, alternative remedies and other aids, well worth a read to educate yourself.

    You mention you're taking a Turmeric and Ginger drink - it's Curcumin which is the active anti-inflammatory ingredient of Turmeric but it really doesn't contain very much and it's not easily absorbed by the body on its own. If you're not seeing much in the way of a reduction in inflammation it may be worth checking out some capsules which are usually sold as Curcumin + Black Pepper ( for easier absorption), though the best use Piperine. Another proven anti-inflammatory is Boswellia and it can be bought as capsules or a rub for the joints.

    Diet is another area to look at, not just because a healthy diet is a good idea but some specific foodstuffs are known anti-inflammatories. Anything rich in Omega-3, dark green leafy veg, onions and garlic and believe it or not - Olives and Olive Oil. Olives contain a substance with properties very similar to Ibuprofen, I eat a lot and definitely feel the benefits. Even some nuts like Walnuts will help and these also promote a feeling of fullness, so good if you want to cut down your food intake.

    Hope some of these help,


  • Moira
    Moira Member Posts: 71

    I agree with Jon. My specialist told me I would need a lorry load of turmeric every day to make a difference!!

    Keep moving but don't overdo it - little and often is best. Sitting for too long just stiffens everything up - they haven't invented WD40 intravenously yet!! And the plastic skeletons sold at Halloween don't fit me I'm afraid! I'm afraid my dancing days are over.

    I use the exercise videos that are appropriate for my condition here on VA website. Leon is brilliant.

    I also have found Tai Chi really helpful. I go to a class run by our council especially geared for older folk. We also have elderly keep-fit run by a brilliant tutor who gets you to fill in a form with problems you have and then will give alternatives to the gentle exercises. Don't know if your local council do anything like that.

    Good luck and keep moving even if you creak.

  • Thank you Jon and Moira for your helpful comments :)

    Yes I've been reading about olives and olive oil and how a lot of people in Italy drink a spoonful of olive oil a day in the morning for health benefits, I do use extra virgin olive oil a lot in my cooking and while I've never been a fan of olives, if they have all these benefits maybe I need to give them another go 😛 At the mo I'm trying to make half my plate veg, with plenty of spinach, cabbage etc so hopefully I'll start seeing the benefits in time.

    I was actually thinking of trying a good quality curcumin and black pepper supplement, I had one before but I don't think it was the best quality, will shop around and see if I can find one with higher strength curcuminoids. Never thought of boswellia, I will definitely check that out!

    And yes Tai Chi is something I've been meaning to try for a while - there's a class locally and I keep meaning to go along - I might give it a go :) I've just joined a gym locally and going along for my first beginners weights session tonight so hopefully that will help. I used to do weights a good few years ago and loved them, so it's probably something I might stick with (fingers crossed) :)

    Thanks again for the great advice, I just need to keep this initial momentum going now and get into a good routine. Now if someone could help me be disciplined that'd be great ahah 😉

    Best of luck to you too :)

  • Gabby
    Gabby Member Posts: 3

    Hi I'm 57. I have recently been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of the right knee and lower back. I am still trying to come to terms with this and make adjustments. Like you I have been advised to exercise to strengthen the muscles around the joint. I have been doing Tai Chi and I have been given a programme to do in the gym. I find walking on pavements really aggravates my knee sometimes. This seems like a really supportive community. So glad I have signed up today.

  • chrisb
    chrisb Moderator Posts: 635

    Hi @Gabby and welcome to the versus arthritis forum. I see that you're already contributing to existing discussions which is great. I hope you find having joined a beneficial experience.

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

  • It's definitely a journey isn't it Gabby... finding out what you can and can't do without discomfort! How are you finding the Tai Chi? I'm keen to hear from someone who's tried it as to how you find it/is it enjoyable.

    I've started wearing a knee sleeve when cycling...not sure if it helps or not but it doesn't seem as painful when I wear it.

    I did weights in the gym last night (kettlebells and dumbbells) and felt great so I think weight training is definitely the way to go for me :) GP suggested walking up and down the pool too for strength so I'm going for a pool session today as well to see how that goes.

    Onwards and upwards :)

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 357

    Hi @CrumbyGirl,

    Can't fault your attitude, you're taking really positive steps to understand and manage your condition.

    The thing with Arthiritis is it's hughly unpredictable and many of us experience good and bad days and when I'm low it's sometimes really hard to get motivated to do the physio and exercise which I know will actually make me feel better. I've developed a regular daily and weekly routine based around physio, gymwork, Spin classes, walks and cycling and the thing with routine is it becomes habit and habits are hard to break.

    I also like to incentivize myself, say with a cuppa and a cake after a long walk or bike ride or as I did last night with a pint and a packet of crisps after pushing myself at the gym. It's so much easier if there is a positive reward for going above and beyond than beating yourself up if you feel you're not doing enough.

    All the best,