So I've been struggling with osteoarthritis in my left knee for a number of years. I'm bone on bone in one "envelope" (the inner part) and have arthritis and bone spurs on my kneecap.
It got to the point where I dropped from the 190s to 170-180 a year ago and I figured it was time to give up bowling for a while to get surgery. The Orthopedic said it wasn't time yet, let's try to make it last. He wasn't in favor of braces, either, so just dope up on the NSAIDs and let's see where we are.
Oh goody - continue with the pain until I can't take it anymore? Yeah, that's the diagnosis I wanted to hear.
So I bought an unloader knee brace (on my own - thank goodness for Flex - $600) which made a TREMENDOUS impact. Bowling was nearly pain free for several months. I jumped back up to 190s. I could adjust the side-load and that really seemed to keep the stress off the affected part of my knee.
Oh - and strangely enough - I got my lower wisdom teeth removed at about the same time and that relieved a TON of back pain. Literally - got home from the oral surgeon and had zero back pain. I just thought it was the drugs, LOL.
But the knee kept deteriorating. It's my left, so I slide into it. I had to stop my walks, which meant my weight has been creeping up. Bah - vicious circle.
It hurt enough that after bowling a 540 series and feeling miserable, I got back in but to another Ortho. This guy was cool, especially since he realized that I already knew most of what he was going to tell me.
He told me why I wasn't eligible for a partial knee replacement (I'm arthritic in 2/3 "envelopes" so a partial isn't indicated for me - other just told me "no" . . . isn't that sweet) and persuaded me to try the cortisone shot. I'd had a bad experience with cortisone in my foot and he told me it was completely different and MUCH better.
It was. It's been three weeks and I'm dealing with MAYBE 10% of the pain I'd had before. Whereas before, if I tweaked my knee it would hurt for an hour or more, now it hurts for about 20 seconds or so and I'm back to something I can deal
My first night back (day after the shot) I tossed 743. Felt like dancing.
I've been above 600 the last two weeks as well and have visited and hiked in a couple of ghost towns in Eastern California as well, with little knee problem!
I don't write this to brag, but as a rejoicing and as an encouragement to others with knee problems. It can get better (even if only for a bit - I know I'll need more shots and I know I'll need a new knee).
In any case - cheers!