It is not uncommon for athletes to be diagnosed with it years after retirement. “It can be difficult to determine how best to treat arthritis pain,” says Vonda Wright, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center for Sports Medicine.
A prime example of this is Major League Baseball legend Hank Aaron. Aaron just reached the age of 81. Located in his right knee, arthritis developed with age – more specifically, osteoarthritis (OA).
Osteoarthritis is described as a chronic degenerative joint disease. Unfortunately, people respond to treatments differently. What works for one may or may not work for another.
Dr. Vonda Wright, who is also the author of Fitness After 40, discusses different arthritis treatments. “There is a wide range of options including inflammation- and pain-reducing medications, physical therapy to help strengthen muscles that support a joint, joint-relieving injections and surgery. The key is to sit down with your orthopedist, determine your life and activity goals and develop a treatment plan from there.”
For Aaron, his path to finding the right treatment was somewhat frustrating. “I tried all the different medicines, but they either wouldn’t work for me, or they’d work for a little while, and then stop working. I’d gotten cortisone shots that would work for 10 days or less. I was happy to get some relief from the pain, but it was short-lived,” he shared.
“When Synvisc-One, a non-systemic therapy injection, came out and they wanted me to test it, I said yes right away. I would have done anything. Knock on wood; I’ve had no trouble with the knee at all since then. I’ve had two shots, and while I’m sure it’s not good for everything, for me, for my knee, it has been a total success.”
Obviously, this may not work for everyone; consult with a professional.
When asked why he is involved with the arthritis foundation, Aaron replied, “ I want people to get back in the game, whatever that means to them. I want people to be able to play golf, walk, ride a bike, [and] play with their grandkids. I want people to know that they need to be active and that they can be.”
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