Do not ignore the pain and stay active – these are two very important success factors for treating osteoarthritis of the knee. Although osteoarthritis of the knee cannot be cured, patients can counteract joint wear with physiotherapy, specific exercises and gentle activity. Coin dealer Manfred Höhn may have started with non-surgical treatment late, but it helped him regain quality of life and postpone his knee surgery.
For a long time, other things were more important to Manfred Höhn than that irritating knee pain. Together with his wife, he opened an auction house in Leipzig, raised two daughters and always worked on a self-employed basis. Then his wife fell ill. From then on, her health and care took priority. “I just tried to ignore my knee pain and took pills,” reports Manfred, who is in his late 60s.
Manfred Höhn was about to visit his wife in hospital when his knee gave him trouble for the first time. The inclines on the way to the hospital were a challenge for him, and his knee pain became particularly noticeable when he walked downhill. But he didn’t have time to try and find the cause of the increasing pain. His wife’s condition deteriorated, until she passed away in 2010.
A lack of movement has an adverse effect on patients suffering from osteoarthritis
From this moment on, the widower became less active, and the pain got worse. Today he knows: this lack of exercise meant that the cartilage in his knee received an ever-dwindling supply of nutrients, because these are found in the synovial fluid and are massaged into the cartilage tissue when the knee is subjected to strain and relief. The diagnosis was clear: osteoarthritis of the knee. An arthroscopy was needed to smooth out the cartilage surface which had become rough. This was followed by a short course of injections. While this temporarily alleviated the pain, there is no cure for osteoarthritis. The full extent of the joint wear could finally be seen on X-rays.
After cycling, my knee is much more mobile.
Osteoarthritis of the knee: when does it make sense to have surgery?
Manfred Höhn suffers from advanced-stage osteoarthritis of the knee, meaning a knee joint replacement will eventually be unavoidable. For now, however, he would like to delay his knee surgery for as long as possible. That‘s why he’s relying on non-surgical treatment. Regular exercise and wearing the GenuTrain A3 knee support by Bauerfeind are now part of everyday life for the coin dealer. “My orthopedist said that cycling is very beneficial. I do this on my exercise bike. And afterwards, my knee really is much more mobile,” Manfred Höhn acknowledges. He also regularly has physiotherapy to improve the mobility and function of the knee joint and to alleviate pain. “There are different exercises that really help,” Höhn reports. “Even if the treatment hurts sometimes, I still feel much better a few days later – it really does me good.”
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When physiotherapy reaches its limits
Höhn’s osteoarthritis of the knee has now progressed so much that gentle exercise and physiotherapy alone are no longer enough. He also needs to take medication to treat the pain caused by his osteoarthritis. Hiking, swimming, cross-country skiing and other types of sport are not possible for him at the moment. Longer walks need to include a number of stops to rest. However the widower has got used to the situation and has adjusted his life to his health limitations.
Since osteoarthritis cannot be cured, it is particularly important that the condition of the joint is frequently checked and treated by an orthopedic specialist, to ensure knee replacement surgery can be avoided for as long as possible. Joint wear can be slowed down with exercise that is gentle on the joints – such as swimming and cycling – as well as with physiotherapy and a well-fitting knee support.
»When I wear my knee support, I feel less pain. I can almost keep up with my grandchildren.«
Exercise is absolutely essential – especially at an older age
Manfred Höhn now knows: it is important to keep moving despite the pain. Hobbies can be a huge help: Manfred Höhn stays active during gardening and, in particular, when he’s with his two grandchildren. “The children want to run around and play. I sit on the floor with them, go out into the woods with them – it’s non-stop action all day,” explains the proud grandpa. “And I can manage pretty well thanks to my knee support, since it stabilizes my knee and reduces the pain. I can almost keep up with the children.”
Products for osteoarthritis of the knee: Bauerfeind provides support
Would you like to be more active to alleviate your osteoarthritis-related pain? Bauerfeind knee supports and orthoses will help you. Find the right medical product here.