If you have knee pain, chances are you may have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and it’s the medical term for “wear and tear” on a joint. Over time, the cushioning between your joints, your cartilage, can break down causing pain, swelling, stiffness and a limited range of motion.
The initial treatment regimen for osteoarthritis often involves over the counter pain relievers, physical therapy, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. But, a recent study shed light on the effectiveness of a popular sports supplement – creatine, for osteoarthritis.
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in postmenopausal women with osteoarthritis, the women were given either creatine (in a typical dosing pattern used with creatine – 20 grams per day for one week followed by 5 grams per day thereafter) or a placebo for 12 weeks. After the 12-week study finished, physical functioning and stiffness significantly improved in the creatine group. In addition, the group taking creatine significantly improved the muscle mass in their legs.
If you are in physical therapy and working on leg and glute (butt) strength to stabilize your knee and help minimize the pain of osteoarthritis, try creatine with your program. By adding creatine, you should see greater gains in muscle tissue and see them more rapidly. And, better functioning muscle means stronger knees and less knee pain. And, you don’t need to be a postmenopausal woman to reap the benefits from creatine. In fact, you’ve got a leg up if you are under 40, especially if you are a man (because your muscle tissue is primed for growth when you are younger and men have the hormonal profile to make great gains from strength training whereas women do not have the hormones necessary to “get big”).
If you want to try creatine, take the initial loading dose in 5 gram increments four times per day or 10 grams twice a day. Take more than that at one time and you may experience some stomach distress. Is creatine safe? You bet. Check out my article here about the safety of creatine.