Personal advice on anterior knee pain from an over-50

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Anterior knee pain is a pain in the, well, knee obviously, but unfortunately it impacts on so much more that it almost feels as though nothing else much matters. At my age, just a shade over 50 (all right, a shade under 60 if you must!) my ankles are fine, my hips seem pretty solid and my back doesn’t give me too much bother.

However, my knees often feel as though someone has stuck a red hot poker right through the front, and often walking becomes a case of shuffling. Of course, you can often forget the trouble of bending down in supermarkets. At home I’ve already made sure that I don’t store things I need regularly in the bottom areas of my kitchen cupboards, minimising the need to bend down and then struggle to get up.

The biggest problem with anterior knee pain is that it can make me feel a little embarrassed in public. Struggling to get up, wincing or leaning on shelves makes me feel older than my years, and a bit feeble. Knee pain is barely tolerable, but the perception of others, or at least my imagined perception of how others see me is perhaps even worse.

Anterior knee pain occurs in almost two thirds of women over 50, largely as a result of the menopause causing oestrogen levels to deteriorate the cartilage in the knee. As a result the bones are simply grinding up against each other. Pain killers can work, but I also find that relieving the pressure on the knees through activities such as swimming really help too.

Swimming keeps the knee supported whilst allowing plenty of movement. It takes gravity out of the equation if you will, and of course for exactly the same reason it makes good sense to watch your weight.

Losing a little extra weight has certainly helped, especially as it then becomes easier to lean on someone if the knees have given up the battle to raise me from examining the special offers on lower shelf biscuits at the shop!

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