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Chondropathy of the Knee -- Can Natural
Remedies Help?
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Last updated July 17, 2017, originally published November 21, 2016
By A. Weinberg, Contributing Columnist







Chondropathy is an "ouchy" kind of situation. Chondropathy basically
means cartilage loss.  Chrondropathy
of the knee, therefore, means the
breaking down of the cartilage tissue that surrounds the bone
s of your
knees
.  As a result, the cartilage no longer performs its function of
cushioning your knee
and there is pain around your kneecap with a
feeling of crunching and swelling.


In some cases, though, chondropathy will be asymptomatic. However,
athletes will certainly feel it. Chondropathy has even been affectionately
nicknamed “runner's knee” since it happens so often amongst the
racers and sprinters of the world.

However, chondropathy affects even people who are not athletes. It
can also be found in older adults with arthritis of the knee.
Over time,
we all suffer some cartilage loss but some of us are spared losing so
much cartilage that the knee starts to hurt.



If your knee is simply overworked, it may be naturally cured with rest
and painkillers. However, if it's misaligned, the strategies to get it
functioning again may be more complex.


And if it has already gotten to an advanced stage, surgery may be
necessary. However, if it just starting or in the early stages, there are
many management techniques you can use to keep it in check. There
are multiple options being studied and considered, both to bring down
the pain and to exercise the joints. Check out a few of them.

































1.
Lose weight


Now, this may seem like a Catch-22 to some, because oftentimes what
causes that wearing of the knees and breakdown of cartilage in the
first place is that you were TRYING to lose weight.

However, it may be worth it to slow down intense exercise and do
more low-impact activities (such as swimming or biking) as well as
modify your diet.

Stress on cartilage has been shown to be made worse by the strain of
extra weight.

In 2015, Dr. M.D. Brucknor from the University of California in San
Fransisco examined early knee abnormalities in an MRI over 48 months
(4 years).

He and colleagues studied the right knees of 100 subjects 45 and over.
They were split into two groups: one that had an at least 5% increase
in body mass index, the second that had a less than 2% change in
weight. They did a baseline and 48 month MRI study with scored and
logistic regression model comparison.

Weight gain was strongly associated with the increased progression of
cartilage degeneration in middle-aged individuals and also showed risk
factors in developing osteoarthritis.


2.
Take an Anti-inflammatory Herbal Mix


In addition to the practical consideration of further breaking down the
cartilage, you also have to consider managing the pain, regardless of
what stage of knee chondropathy you're in. Certain herbs, together or
mixed, can help out.

Dr. T. Conrozier from the Centre-Hospitalier in Lyon-Sud, France
recommends 650 gram capsules of AINAT, after performing a
successful study in 2015.

AINAT capsules contain a mix of Devil's Claw, turmeric, and bromelain --
a compound found in pineapple stems.  All of these substances are anti-
inflammatory agents.

Conrozier and colleagues conducted an open label survey in eight
rheumatology centers. The 42 patients tested were 36 women, with an
average age of 67, who suffered from acute or chronic joint pain. Two
650 mg capsules of AINAT were given three times a day to patients
with acute pain and two times a day to patients with chronic pain.
There was an effective analgesic effect for both groups.

So, if typical painkillers and management methods aren't working,
consult your doctor about which herbal mixes to use and where to find
them.


3.
Whatever You're Doing --- Stop!


If your chondropathy is not in its advanced stages, and you're still
conducting business as normal in your exercise routine, STOP.

For example, if you've been running three miles a day or more, just halt
right there and take a two week break, suggests Jeffrey Heit, clinical
instructor at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine. Even if
you think it's minor, like “Geez, I'm just dancing around my house a
little bit,” if your knees are killing you, well, don't kill them.

Heit suggests starting out by a combination of resting and the obvious
techniques, such as icing your joints and taking traditional painkillers:
Advil, Ibuprofen, Tylenol, etc (provided you don't have an adverse
reaction to them, of course).

If that doesn't work immediately, don't try to do more self-care. Go to
a doctor and see what they recommend.


4.
Start Physical Therapy  


Heit also recommends that once you do slow down what you're doing,
that you take up official therapy, to get your body back in working
order.

The primary goal here is to strengthen the muscles of the hips, thighs,
quadriceps, hamstrings, and hip abductors. This helps stabilize the knee
joint and keep proper alignment of the patella.

That proper alignment in turn assures that the patella slides into the
appropriate groove and meet minimal friction and resistance.

The physical therapist is there to help you create a routine to achieve
this.

Depending on your case, you may be able to supplement physical
therapy with low-impact aerobic exercise, such as swimming, cycling,
or an elliptical machine. Your main physician will probably have to refer
you before you see a physical therapist.


5.
Do Strengthening Exercises


Once you get the okay from your physical therapist, there are some
exercises you can do at home.

One of the most recommended rituals involves strengthening the
quadricep muscle. Consider adding squats or semi-squats to your
routime every other day.

In 2008, A.H, Bakhtiary from the Semnan University of Medical Sciences
did a study to compare two types of quadricep exercises. 32 female
university students with a diagnosis of patellar chondromalacia
participated.  

Participants were split into two groups: the straight-leg raise group
and semi-squat group. Both groups followed a 3-week program of
quadricep strengthening. They started with 20 exercises, two times per
day, and increased the session by five exercises every two days.
Measurements were taken at the end of each week and then two weeks
after the three-week exercise program.

Semi-squats turned out to be more effective than straight-leg raises,
but pain decreased significantly in both groups.





6.
Take Freeze-dried Cat's Claw


And mix it with a unicorn's horn and the big toenail of your last lover.
No, but really. This is a thing. It sounds mystic, but it's a quite effective
analgesic.

Cat's claw, in fact, purportedly has a positive effect on joint pain, due
to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Dr. J. Piscoya from the Facultad de Medicina in Lima, Peru, confirmed
these claims in 2001. He and researchers tested 45 patients, 30 treated
with the freeze-dried cat's claw and and 15 with the placebo.

Pain associated with activity according to the medical and patient
assessment scores all significantly reduced, with benefits occurring
within the first week.



7.
Combine Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate


Just a head's up: This is much more effective if you're in moderate to
severe pain because of your knees. A 2006 article published in the New
England journal of medicine detailed an experiment performed by
Daniel O. Clegg from the University of Utah and other colleagues
.

They randomly assigned 1583 patients to receive 1500 mg of
glucosamine daily, 1200 mg of chondroitin sulfate daily, both
glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, 200 mg of celecoxib daily, or
placebo for 24 weeks. The groups were organized based on the
severity of knee pain (mild [N=1229] vs. moderate to severe
[N=354]). There turned out to be not much of an impact on the mild to
low moderate group, but yes on the moderate to severe group.  


Update:

8.
Take Krill to Support Cartilage Function

Krill oil, from a small shrimp-like crustacean, is rich in omega-3 fatty
acids.  These omega-3 fatty acids from krill have been found to be even
more effective than fish oil in supporting healthy cartilage function.

A 2016 study from Juntendo University in Inzai, Chiba, Japan found
that krill oil alleviates mild knee pain at a dosage of 2grams (2000 mg)
per day fro 30 days. The krill oil significantly reduced both pain and
stiffness in the knees. ( Read more about the
comparisons between the
health benefits of fish oil versus krill oil
.)



















































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Bromelain, a compound found in
pineapple stems, helps relieve
knee pain.