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What type of knee strengthening exercise will help the pain in my knees?

Q) I've been diagnosed with arthritis in my legs and my doctor says nothing can be done. I’m 80-years-old and he has prescribed painkillers. However, since summer I've been doing exercises from the Arthritis Research UK Keep Moving leaflet and find they help a lot in easing the pain and keeping me mobile – so thanks to Arthritis Research UK for that. But my knee always gives me trouble, especially the left one, which is always coming out of place and hurts – it can happen when I’m just sitting or even at night while sleeping. Will doing knee strengthening exercise help? Are there are any other exercises for the knees? Is there a cream to massage into the knees? I look forward to your advice.
Mrs Lai F Lim, Bloxham, Banbury, Oxfordshire (Spring 2007) 

A) You have several questions. There are additional knee exercises and you should see a physiotherapist for these. The physiotherapist will also be able to make an assessment of your knee and investigate what's causing this feeling of instability. As far as creams go there are now several non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) available as a cream to rub on, and there's no doubt your body receives less drug this way. Two other creams are available: the athlete’s liniment (usually oil of Wintergreen) and capsaicin. Capsaicin is made from hot peppers and causes a little burning when first applied but this soon passes. It works as a counter-irritant. Be very careful if you use this type of cream: wash your hands thoroughly after applying it. If you forget to and then rub your eyes it can be most unpleasant.


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