Rehab of Steve’s arthritic knees
Steve’s “bone-on-bone” osteoarthritis caused persistent swelling in both knee joints for a year and a half. On a “good day” he could bend his knees about halfway, and with modest activity the swelling would worsen. Trying to lessen the swelling, he became increasingly inactive, and his health in general was headed in the wrong direction. Shoe inserts, knee braces, prescription anti-inflammatory meds, and draining and injecting with cortisone: all had been unsuccessful, and Steve and his doctor were considering double knee replacement surgery, so that hopefully Steve could become more active again.
While pondering whether to go ahead with the surgery option, Steve found “lose weight and exercise” in a list of treatments for osteoarthritis, and read that losing 20 pounds could reduce stress on his knees by 60+ pounds. After a year and a half of mostly sitting around, he had the fat weight to lose to get to his healthy weight. He had been laying back and observing the results that my clients were getting by using the Nutrition Bridge, but with the newfound hope of personally taking control and changing directions with his health, he was ready. When he asked me, ”Where do I start?” he was thinking simply of losing the weight, unaware of the systemic aspect of inflammation – how his general eating habits could have been contributing to the inflammation (see this discussion in my article on Reducing Stress on Knee and Hip Joints).
He lost 22 pounds, reducing the stress on his knees, and then started gradually being more active again. Others with arthritic knees encouraged him, “Keep moving!” His job is mostly sedentary, so he joined a gym for the first time. He started with the semi-recumbent stationary bikes set at low resistance, and then very gradually over months he increased the resistance. Then over more months he gradually added more exercises, with coaching on how to modify them for the arthritic condition. Over several years he became able to do more interval type and body weight / calisthenic type exercise like he had not done since he was a “youngster.”
With the exercise and what he had learned about nutrition, the improving muscle structure in his legs helped further reduce the stress on his knee joints and the effects of the arthritis. Having resumed his regular activities in general, from yardwork to golf and hiking, he was “more like himself” again, and celebrated with a rigorous father-son wilderness trip, one that he and Dave love, and had seemed unlikely they would ever do together again.
Steve’s (wonderful!) knee doctor re-examined the rehabilitated knees and discussed the nutrition bridge with me. He was really impressed with the improvement, and since then has often suggested that his overweight clients call me for losing weight prior to their joint surgery. Here are pictures of Steve’s knees before and after, and a picture of Steve back doing things he enjoys.