Tag: Osteoarthritis

Can an Anti-Inflammatory Diet Help Osteoarthritis?

anti-inflammatory fruits

Inflammation is one of the key symptoms of osteoarthritis accompanying pain and joint degeneration. It would make sense, then, that an anti-inflammatory diet would help to relieve some of the pain and discomfort, and possibly slow some deterioration.

The problem is that there is no clear evidence that an anti-inflammatory diet will relieve the symptoms of any particular disease.

Anti-Inflammatory Diet Reduces Cytokines

There is pretty clear evidence that a diet high in Omega 3 fatty acids and low in refined grains can reduce pro-inflammatory cytokines and helps with the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines – proteins that help transmit signals within the body. There is general agreement that an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce low levels of inflammation in most people.

Because of this most doctors and nutritionists will suggest that a diet low in inflammatory foods, such as the Mediterranean diet, certainly can’t hurt.

Reducing Inflammation May Not Be Enough

Even with inflammation reduced, certain diseases such as osteoarthritis will continue to progress. There is no clinical evidence that diet alone will slow the eventual progress of the disease or eliminate associated pain. For that reason most health care providers suggest a moderate diet in combination with other remedies such as exercise and losing weight.

There are plenty of testimonials online that suggest near-miraculous results from maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet. While the people who give these testimonials may indeed have experienced relief over pain and discomfort, it can’t be determined how much relief is coming from their diet and how much from exercise, weight loss or other therapies.

So while we don’t know whether or not an anti-inflammatory diet will help with osteoarthritis symptoms, it certainly can’t hurt.

Pop Goes the Knee – My Journey with Osteoarthritis

types of meniscus tears

In September 2016 while on an easy 3 mile jog I stepped wrong and felt my knee “pop.” I felt a sharp pain and had to limp home where I put ice on my knee. I tried ice and rest for a few days with no improvement so went off to see my doctor where I was referred to an orthopedist. An MRI and several X-rays revealed that not only did I have a probable torn meniscus, but I also had osteoarthritis, to the point where there is not enough cartilage remaining in my right knee to make a repair possible.

The orthopedist said there was not much I could do short of total knee replacement. I asked about physical therapy and he said that it often simply makes the condition worse.

I tried the recommended treatments, rest, ice and a started wearing a neoprene sleeve. Eventually my knee felt better – good enough that my wife and I took up ballroom dance lessons.

I also went to another orthopedist for a second opinion and he referred me to physical therapy, mostly stretching exercises to relieve pressure on the patella. I’ve had injections of hyaluronic acid – a lubricant to help supplement the synovial fluid in the knee joint. More recently I’ve had new pain in my left knee which the doctor thinks might also be a torn meniscus. However in this case he thinks there might be enough cartilage to be worth a repair.

After this I had cortisone injections, which helped a little but weren’t as big a relief as I was expecting.

So far the pain isn’t constant. I’ll have a “flare up” that can last two weeks or so. After a little rest my knees will be comfortable enough to walk normally. Recently I had a touch of fever, probably a seasonal bug, and remarkably all pain and discomfort vanished from my knees. Now that I’m done with the fever I can feel discomfort in my knee joints again. I don’t know if the fever interrupted the inflammatory response in my knees or exactly what that was about.

If the disease progresses normally and I end up with knee replacement surgery then I can expect to get worse and become more immobile over the next 4-5 years until a major surgery might offer relief. I realize that I need to learn more about the disease, treatments and what I can do to make things better in the mean time. So as I learn more, I’ll post more.