Osteoarthritis: Relieving Pain, Improving Function

Chris Pasero, MS, RN-BC


October 26, 2011

Case Presentation: Osteoarthritis of the Knees

A 72-year-old man has had well-localized osteoarthritis pain in both knees for 10 years. He retired 4 years ago from his job as a carpet installer and has lived alone since his wife's death 2 years ago.

He took naproxen twice daily and experienced satisfactory pain relief without adverse effects for 2 years but stopped taking the naproxen 6 months ago because "I don't like to take medicine and I heard that I could get a stomach ulcer" from the drug. He now takes an occasional acetaminophen if he is unable to sleep at night.

He has always been independent and highly functional. In addition to taking care of his 1500 square foot home, his daily routine includes walking 4 blocks to a local restaurant every morning to have breakfast with friends.

His daughter is concerned because her father, who usually enjoys family outings, recently rejected an invitation to attend a family picnic, saying he was "just not up to it." Her father's best friend mentioned to her that her father has not met with his friends for breakfast for the past month.

When the daughter visits her father she notices that he has trouble getting out of his chair and seems to have increased pain. When she asks him about her observations, he tells her his pain is "a little bit worse, but I'm getting older. It's to be expected."

He has a routine check-up with his family practice nurse practitioner in 2 days and agrees to let his daughter come along.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.