My knees hurt. They have been hurting now for almost 2 years. They hurt so badly that I can no longer do the things I love to do that require knees. The diagnosis – severe medial osteoarthritis caused mainly by being bow-legged (genu varum) which leads to deforming arthrosis. I remember as a kid people would often make comments to me like “Hey fella – did you just get off your horse?”
The X-ray above is not my knee but it might as well be. If you look at the inner part of the knee, you’ll see that due to the varus bend in the inside of the knee, the inside of the bones are completely on top of one another. This leads to premature erosion of the knee cartilages. The result of this is a deformation of the tendons – it stretches them across a greater surface area – and as the tendons fray, excruciating pain results.
The real pain started after a fall I took a few years ago in my backyard where my right knee bent so far backward I almost passed out. We have yet to put Bilco doors atop the hole that leads to the basement door. One day as I was carrying something large and unwieldy passed the hole and down I went.
But the years of running and martial arts also took it’s toll. After seeing my xrays and MRIs, my friend and former business partner who is also an orthopedic surgeon said “Fred it’s a good thing you’ve stayed strong over the years or all this would have come to haunt you sooner.” He also said that there is nothing he or I can do to resolve this. He said what everyone who is in my position fears to hear – you’re gonna need a new knee.
Well, I like my knee. He has been with me for quite some time. He’s been with me through thick and through thin and, may I say, I have grown quite attached to him. Parting is not an option.
One doctor told me that the condition could have been rectified as a youngster with proper braces. My parents, it seems, never noticed how bad it was.
So as you might guess, I have been doing everything possible to address the pain, but to no avail. You name the herb, I’ve taken it. Physical therapy is useless of course as I am 10 times stronger than any therapist could make me and no therapy can straighten the deformity. I have had Synvisc injections which did absolutely nothing. I tried a steroid injection which helped for 1 week but the pain came back with a vengeance (I know that steroids are bad but when you are in pain…).
I am now doing what is called Prolotherapy,. Prolotherapy is a series of injections, performed by a physician, of dextrose and Lidocaine designed to induce an inflammatory response. This response gets my body to put a little giddy-up on the healing process in the tendons so that the pain becomes manageable. Here is a video of a physician administering PT:
Wish me luck.
But there is another reason for the degradation to my knee joints and may very well be the reason for the deformity in the first place. It’s called called “leaky gut” and when you have this, all bodily hell can break loose in the form of autoimmune disorders.
Autoimmune disorders occur when they body attacks itself for one reason or another. My understanding of the conditions is that of a layperson, but I think I have a decent grasp on it. Essentially, elements that should not be in your blood stream enter the blood stream via a compromised gut wall (see the above diagram) and are attacked by the immune system. However, some of these invaders are so similar to the tissues and structures of our bodies that the immune system gets confused and attacks what it should not like knee cartilage, brain stems, etc.
Sometimes the disorder results in disorders as benign as acne. Sometimes the disorder results in disorders as horrific as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, multiple sclerosis or severe forms of rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. It can either cause or exacerbate an existing condition like it is doing to me. Here is a decent video describing it:
Enter Hans Keer, author and creator of Cut The Carb. He is an engineer by trade, but really knows his stuff with respect to paleolithic nutrition. I’ve been reading his blogs for a while now and I find them short, sweet and very informative.
I asked Hans a few questions regarding arthritis – osteoarthritis in particular – and he suggested I try an elimination diet. Essentially you remove all foods that are known to be potentially responsible for causing a leaky gut. You do this for 30-90 days or so and after this time, the symptoms you are experiencing should greatly decrease.
Certain foods you eliminate forever, others can be reintroduced to see if they cause a flare up. Here is an excerpt from his blog:
During a period of at least one month, but preferably three months, you abstain totally from the following foods:
1. All cereal grains like wheat, rye, barley, corn and rice and derived products like bread and pasta
2. Legumes like beans, lentils and dry peas, including soy and peanuts and derived products like oils
3. The nightshades like potatoes, tomatoes, (bell) peppers and eggplant (sweet potatoes are not nightshades)
6. All plant seed oils except coconut oil and some virgin cold-pressed olive oil
7. Nuts (they also contain a lot of the proinflammatory omega-6)
8. Processed and canned foods
9. Starchy foods, sugars, artificial sweeteners, soft drinks, candy, fruit juices
10. Alcoholic beverages
11. All additives
Number 10 makes me weep. I love my evening wine. But its worth it to see if my body will heal by adopting such a healthfull diet. Both my wife and I are going to give it a go.
Maybe you should try it too?
When you start the Paleo Diet, you may choose to count yourself among the dietary elite – knowing that about 6 billion people on the planet aren’t eating this way. And yet just 10,000 years ago – a mere drop in the bucket of geological time – there wasn’t a single person who did not follow the Paleo Diet – Loren Cordain, Ph.D.