Help? : Hi, I have recently been diagnosed... - Arthritis Action

Arthritis Action
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Hi, I have recently been diagnosed with OA in both knees and they found an old

Meniscus tear in my left knee (2 weeks ago via MRI). I'm so confused. In September /October I had a mild niggle in my left knee which I presumed would go away. It didn't. In 8 weeks I have went from being a fully active, heel wearing person to someone who finds it impossible to walk down stairs, I have to wear trainers all the time and I can't walk long distances without my knees feeling like they will buckle or give way. Im only 48 and this is really affecting me. I'm honestly scared, is this my life now? Why did it happen so quickly? Will I recover and get some of my old life back? My consultant is trying painkillers and physio first but so far there is no real improvement at all. I would really appreciate any advice on what to do??

9 Replies


Almost certainly the tear would have occurred from an aggressive movement, like an abnormal twist or rotation of your left knee. Even getting up from a squatting position can do it.

The first line of attack is physio treatment in order to try and get the knee stabilised.

Are you in UK ? Are you seeing this treatment through NHS ?

I would suggest going to see a Physiotherapist privately, pay for it yourself and regard it as getting a second opinion. Do you have copies of your MRI or other Xrays.

The Physio you should see is one who preferably specialises in sports injuries.

This can also be referred to as a torn cartilige and in extreme cases you will require key hole surgery to have the cartilige removed.

It all depends on the nature of the damage to the knee.

This is just what happened to me ( back in the day 2000, aged 56), walking along a river bank with the dog, stumbled down a rough bit of grassy ground, tore my cartilige. The pain was beyond belief. I had the cartilige removed by keyhole surgery, an afternoon in hospital. Job done.

However, when cleaning out the knee joint the surgeon found the very onset of osteoarthritis. The surgeon said at the time the stumble didn't cause the tear it was the Osteoarthritis they found that damaged the cartilige and caused the tear when I stumbled .... so, yes - it can happen as quick as that. The arthritis worsened over the next 15 years and in 2015 (aged 71) I had a partial knee replacement. Job done.

MRI's are not always reliable at picking up osteoarthritis, but X-Rays are .... have you had any Xrays ? Any sign of Osteoarthritis ?

Trust me its not the end of the world. In terms of pain relief I have found CoCodomol 30/500 pretty good, but it is only available on prescription.

Hope this helps, if I can help more let me know.


in reply to carneuny

Thanks John for your reply. I haven't had any falls etc in the past 8 weeks so they think the tear may date back to my 20s when I had a bad fall and was on crutches. The MRI confirmed OA in both knees, the knee with the tear is actually better than the knee without the tear.

What is bothering me is how quickly I have went from leading a relatively normal life to being really affected. 8 weeks ago I was walking long distances with my dogs and wearing heels to work now I'm taking lifts in restaurants because I can't walk down stairs! Will this continue getting worse or can I improve it so I can get some of my old life back? I feel so worried and helpless. At work I have to get up from my desk every 15 mins to walk a bit, if I leave it too long I feel so embarrassed when I get up and have to hobble the first 10 steps because I'm so stiff. I have never had to think about giving up work before but I don't know how much longer I can work if this keeps getting worse? Did you manage to slow it down or improve it? My physio consists of a chat on the phone and videos sent to me by a physio company my health insurance pays for. I'm UK based and I will probably wait several months for a face to face appointment. I'm doing the exercises, icing my knees everyday, taking ibuprofen and taking supplements- turmeric, glucosamine etc. I don't know what else to do?

in reply to andi2508

Hi andi,

In a nutshell, where you have OA involved the chances of the damage/injury in either leg improving is not good. The extent the OA worsens I guess will depend very much on how aggressive it is.

By the time I was ready for knee replacement it would take me a bit over 30 minutes to do a normal downhill walk of 5 minutes. Then I would need a taxi for the return, couldn't do the uphill return walk. I was damn near crippled. In the end it was only some 4 months until I had to have surgery, it was that quick a deterioration.

So no, for me it was not possible to slow it down.

You seem to be doing as much as you can, but, I come back to my suggestion of consulting a sports injury physio, a face to face consultation because although we talk about bone and cartilige you will be experiencing soft tissue/ligament/ muscular issues which you won't necessarily be aware of day to day. These people may be able to give you advice on ergonomics, the way you sit at your desk, at home, in your car. They will certainly be able to give you massage and hopefully strengthen your soft tissue so that it is doing more to support your knees. Both the damaged one and the non damaged one.

I found the lower the seat, the process of getting up to a standing position was so much worse, the higher the seat life was a bit easier. A lounge at home is still an issue for me even though my knee is totally healed and I'm absolutely pain free.

But in the end, for me, there was no substitute for going under the knife.

I really do recommend the massage therapy route for now (in addition to what you are already doing) and see if your soft tissue can be strengthen to do more work.

See what other people reply to your post reveals too, others may have better experiences than I have had.



it sounds like you have an aggressive case and if it’s any consolation I was very fed up when I was diagnosed with Arthritis in my Knee. I’ve been suffering since January, almost a complete year. They can fix the tear in the meniscus with an arthroscopy and you have symptoms in the opposite knees to me, but it sounds like a flare up.

I got through my crisis with intensive physio therapy and strong prescription pain killers in order to do the exercises. How well are you doing the exercises? How much do you push yourself in the repetitions and can you do them? I could not even do all of them, but I can now and those muscles that killed me at first are stronger now and I can walk, but the pain does come back.

I know how you feel about getting up from a chair and walking down stairs, but exercise and massage works for me!

Throw away the high heels and never wear purple!

Thanks, purple is not my colour anyway lol! Pain isn't my biggest problem (except for going downstairs) it's the stiffness and feeling of instability when I get up that's the issue and having to wear trainers all the time. I can do all of the exercises but they are not making any difference (so far). A friend has recommended Cbd oil so I will give that a go. I think the rapid decline with no improvement is what is worrying me. I'm new to this, can a flare up last months but eventually get better with exercise etc or is this my life now?


My flare up lasts a week and I thought I was improving with walking but my pain goes away with exercise and massage. How hard do you push yourself in the repetitions? Do you feel the burn in your muscles around your knee?

I have a delivery of CBD oil capsules arriving BV this week and I'll let you know.

I haven't worn high heels since the 70's but I did look good!

Regards Vic

Hi andi2508 I have OA in both knees as well as other joints. For knee pain and stiffness I have found Capsaicin cream really helps. I first read about this a couple of years ago on the Arthritis Research site. I enquired at my local Pharmacy and found it was available but on prescription only. I discussed it with my GP at my pain review and she was happy to prescribe some to try. Initially it has to be applied two or three times a day and can take a week or two to work. The cream is made from chilli peppers so you need to be very careful when applying, I use gloves. I had read reviews about it on line so was prepared for the burning sensation it causes when first it is used, the reason a lot of reviewers gave up on it but I persevered. After a week or so use I noticed a difference - I was able to reduce the amount of cocodamol I used and the stiffness in my knees almost disappeared. The cream shouldn’t be used daily long term and after a couple of months I was able to stop using it daily. If I have a flare up, which has only happened a few times, I use it for a few days until the symptoms settle down again.

Like a lot of alternative remedies the cream doesn’t work for everyone but I was glad I gave it a try.

Hello. I've got OA in both knees, big toes and spine, also have scoliosis and a rod in my back. I was a runner but been a hiker for many years and still am. Most days I walk down stairs backwards and am in constant pain but I can go out and do a fast hilly 5 mile walk in an hour and 20. Keep moving is the key. I do Pilates. I take meloxicam every so often. Started to drink ginger tea and Apple cider vinegar (take in moderation). You can do this. I cried for a month, went to see a consultant, he said get on with your life, the different mind set made a massive difference, don't get me wrong I still have very bad days and nights but overall I can ignore and get on x good luck x

A good chiropractor, who listened to what I said and treated a calf muscle damage. Keeping it warm (woollen leggings) plus diet and exercise sorted me out. As for the OA in my toes I once sat at my desk thinking of my future in lace-up shoes, when a man in a wheelchair came round the corner. That put things into perspective.

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