Arthritis Community
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Avatar universal

Diagnosed with arthritis today and feeling so down

I am 30 years of age and was diagnosed with early stages of arthritis today. After a long period of pain in the back of my knee and around towards the side of the knee I finally went to get it checked. I was told that my cartilage has worn and I now have arthritis as a result. I am in pain daily with it. Most of all I am so worried about my life, as I am a teacher. I am standing most of the day and I am now fearful that I will have to quit the one thing I love doing. I was so so so shocked to hear this news. I just thought I had torn a ligament or something. I don't really have a specific question of such I guess I would just like to know the following:

Is there anything I can do and if yes then what?
Will I end up with rheamotoid arthitis eventually? (I think I have osteo now)
Will my pain just get worse over time?

I would like to thank anyone who can offer me any help in this matter.
Thank you.

14 Responses
Avatar universal
I am 29 diagnosd rheamatoid arthritis  I am on methotextrate and i still have pain, I cant even get out of bed in the morning. Just dont start on pain killers , I have been trying to get off of them they make things worse!
1193998 tn?1265121197
Hi AJ,

No, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two COMPLETELY different conditions. OA does not lead to RA; however, RA can lead to OA, so it's easy to see how the two can become confused or thought of as the same disease.

OA is purely wear-and-tear, congenital deformity or injury related.

RA is a malfunction of the immune system that causes it to attack it's own healthy joint tissue.

With proper treatment, chances are your pain will improve. Treatment may involve:

-  steroid injections to quiet inflammation (there's a limit to the frequency and overall number of these you can have, as steroids can have negative long term side effects)

- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) to reduce swelling and pain

- physical therapy sessions and at-home exercises to strengthen and support the surrounding muscles and tendons

- athroscopic surgery to repair or remove torn cartilage, and perhaps smooth rough areas damaged by bone rubbing on bone

- injections of something like Synvisc to temporarily cushion the damaged joint

- custom made knee brace to support and keep the joint properly aligned, thus reducing pain

All of the above can help you stave off partial or total replacement surgery for a long, long time. Even if you end up having a partial or total knee replacement, the pain relief you'll get from the surgery will be worth it. My father in law has had both knees replaced due to RA and he's doing great - back to playing golf and ballroom dancing.

You might think about taking up stationary or regular cycling - even when his knees were bad, my father in law could always ride his bike.

I know you hurt, but there is hope! Hang in there!
780647 tn?1304024542
hi im sorry to hear your bad news my friend was diagnosed with arthritis a few years ago she was always in pain i checked the net and came across if you take seven seas fish oils everyday it helps she is taking it a few weeks now and is just back to her normal everyday life check it on the net and see what you think best of luck
Avatar universal
Thank you all so much for your help and kind words. Everyone near to me has told me to take cod liver oil tablets in the morning and night to help grease the joints. I will start taking them soon and hopefully I will see an improvement there after. I am feeling a little more upbeat today and have decided not to let this thing pull me under. I will start swimming and stationery cycling on Monday to try and strenthen the area. Many thanks again.

Avatar universal
May I ask anyone who knows if I will eventually have to have an operation and if so what exactly does the operation entail?

Many thanks again to all of you.
Avatar universal
It's hard to say whether you will require surgery in the future or not.  It will really depend on how severe your arthritis is or gets and how much it interferes with your everyday life in respect to both pain and functionality.  Some people with arthritis never have to have any surgery - some only require something like arthroscopic surgery to "clean out" the joint and yet others require either partial or full replacement of the joint/s.

I, myself, have had one shoulder fully replaced.  I've been told that I also require both knees to be fully replaced and more than likely will also need to have both hips replaced.  However, please do not take my situation as a given that you also will require joint replacement.  I do not at all mean it that way - simply passing along my own experience.  I believe my situation is complicated by the fact that I also have lupus and am currently undergoing testing/investigation to see if there is also something else going on.  I haven't officially been diagnosed with RA, however, have been told that some of my bloodwork came back as "having levels indicative of RA" - whatever that means -= LOL

Anyway, as carolanivey said above, there are definitely other things to do/try before looking into surgery and especially with your young age, I would suggest putting off any surgery as long as you are possibly able.  Even with complete joint replacements, they do also "wear down" over the years, and the younger you have the replacement surgery done, the chances are higher that you will need to have another one done in the future to replace the reaplcement.  It's very important to work closely with your doctor (preferably an orthopedic doc for OA) in regards to PT, medication and other therapies and also work very closely with them in monitoring when/if the pain and limitation of movement, strength, etc., interfere enough in your daily life to warrant a major surgery.

It's impossible to tell you what the operation would entail as it depends on the type of operation you might need and which joint/s it encompasses.  

Best of luck.
Avatar universal
Thank you so much for you reply geminigirl1963 and for sharing your own experience. I saw my x ray and basically my right knee and my left knee are very different. I mean the distance between the bones has narrowed in the right knee quite considerably. May I ask is there anything I can do to strengthen the cartilage in the right knee to avoid a possibly inevitable operation? Gemini, I have also started taking cod liver oil, could you please give me your thoughts on that and/if there is any need to take them? Many many thanks again.

1193998 tn?1265121197
I'm not sure about cod liver oil, as I don't think anything you take by mouth can "grease" the joints. Sounds like an old wive's tale to me, but it probably won't hurt you so try it. :)  You might try glucosamine chondroitin. I find that people seem to have mixed results with this but it is commonly given to animals for joint pain, so again, worth a try.
Avatar universal
I'm afraid I don't have any experience with cod liver oil, so I can't comment on the benefits or risks/dangers it might have.  As with any supplement or medication, I would definitely check with your doctor or pharmacist before trying it to make sure it won't interact with any medication you're on or medical condition you may have.  Remember - just because it's a "natural" supplement, doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe or good for you.

I don't know about any exercises or anything that you can do to actually strengthen the cartiledge, however, low impact exercises such as walking and especially swimming will help to strengthen your muscles, which will in turn, help to strenthen your knees - perhaps taking some of the stress off of them.

There are some injections - Euflexxa and Synvisc - that can help to cushion the joint.  I, myself had the Euflexxa injection in one of my knees (as opposed to Synvisc because Im allergic to feathers and Synvisc is contraindicated in any allergies to birds or bird products).  I received only very slight pain relief from the injection.  My ortho doc did mine as a 3-in-1 injection - meaning that normally, it is a series of three injections given at intervals over a period of weeks.  However, they can also be given as a 3-in-1 injection where the entire dose is given in one injection.  My doctor recommended doing this because a) he felt there was less risk of infection with only one injection as opposed to three and b) when he inserted the needle for the first injection, he was able to get joint fluid out so he knew he was in the right spot and there was no guarantee that with future injections he would be.  My very limited positive results from the injection could be because my knees are just so far gone - I am literally bone on bone in both of them, so it's very possible that NOTHING would help other than the surgery that I'm trying to postpone.

For pain relief, you may also want to ask your doctor about a flexible knee brace to give your knee/s some added support.  While it won't reverse the wear and tear that has already happened, it may allow you some pain relief and the ability to do a little bit more activity that may be more painful wihtout it.

I know you said you're a teacher and stand most of the day.  I, myself, find that standing in one spot to be somewhat more painful than walking.  So, if you're able to either walk around the room a little bit more or even have a chair or stool that you could sit on while you teach, that also may help alleviate some of the pain and added stress on your knees.

Best of luck!  If I can answer any other questions, please let me know.
Avatar universal
Anyone know how helpful Glucosamine sulphate and chondroitin supplements would be to my knee? Where would I purchase such products if they were to benefit me?

Many thanks.

Avatar universal
Could anyone tell me if cycling (in the gym) is ok for my knee or will it damage it more?

Many thanks
1193998 tn?1265121197
The only way to know if it'll work is if you try it. In my observation, some swear by it, others see no different at all. You can buy it almost anywhere supplements are sold. Glucosamine alone is cheaper than the glucosamine-chondroitin combination, so you might start with the single supplement and see how it does. Keep in mind that you often have to take a supplement several weeks or months before it starts to work.

I think cycling is a great idea. As with any exercise, start slow/light and build from there.
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