Friday, May 15, 2009

Parkinson's Disease Symptoms and Arthritis

PD stiffness is no fun and Arthritis in my knee makes it worse
Stiffness and rigidity are my two major Parkinson's disease symptoms. Don't get me wrong, I have a few other PD symptoms as well - and I don't enjoy them either. However, I have a non-parkinsons symptom that affects my quality of life even more than Parkinson's. Arthritis of my left knee. The pain is there when I walk even short distances and long distances are just out of the question. I get a massage once a week and that eases the pain for 3 or 4 days but I only stay pain-free if I don't do anything that is very physical like working around the house or out in the yard.

I don't like taking pain pills and only take them when there is absolutely no alternative available. For a few months I used Kinesio tape and it did help to reduce the pain. You can even wear it in the shower which I did. It is expensive and I wore it for days at a time. I wore it so often that I managed to cause the skin on my legs to bleed. Moderation is the key with that tape. Sometimes my wife pulls out a horse leg wrap and I do find decent support that way but the bandage sometimes slips when I pull on my jeans or and often when I exercise. I have to remove it for swim therapy and never get a good rewrap.

I do try other approaches for support and pain relief and recently pulled out a neoprene sports brace which I purchased a few years ago, the kind they sell at drug stores - one size fits all sorta. After using it for a couple of days my knee was twice as sore as before I put it on. I stopped using it and surfed the Internet for more info where I discovered that there are two basic types of off- the-shelf knee braces. The sports type that I had tried and an arthritis brace that I hadn't. The arthritis model has steel hinges on both sides of the knee and adjustable straps above and below knee which give it more support. The wraparound style makes it easier for me to put it on myself. I just have to align the knee hole with my knee.

Since I started wearing it a week ago the pain is down to about a 1 or 2 on a scale of 1 to 10. This allows me to walk at a somewhat more normal gait since without pain I have a bit extension of my legs. The PD stiffness doesn't help.

The only downside is that because the brace is fairly tight on my knee I find it a little more difficult to get in and out of cars and some of the fitness equipment I use at the therapy center where I work out.

Mueller model 6455-1 about $24.99 + tax at Walgreens - well worth the price. There are other models as well


  1. Can arthritis be misdiagnosed as parkinson disease?

  2. I suppose that almost anything could be misdiagnosed as another condition and sometimes is.
    Because Steve was so afraid of enclosed spaces from which he could not exit immediately, he would never submit to the necessary MRIs for his knees - not even the 'open' MRIs.

    As he lost weight while on the gluten-free diet, the pain in his knees mostly subsided. But he probably did have arthritis in his knees although I never had a chance to speak to the doctor who diagnosed him. He certainly had Parkinson's disease for many more years than the diagnosis would indicate.


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