Chronic Knee, Shoulder and Elbow Joint Pain: Glucosamine and Chondroitin Don't Help
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Chronic Knee, Shoulder and Elbow Joint Pain: Glucosamine and Chondroitin Don't Help

For most people suffering from chronic knee/joint pain, taking supplements of glucosamine and chondroitin do not help. Found naturally in the body, these two substances are known to lubricate the joints and provide elasticity, but ingested supplements are broken down during digestion with little remaining to effectively reach the afflicted joints.


Patellofemoral Stress Syndrome, or PFSS and Chronic Knee/Joint/Elbow Pain

While it needs to be professionally diagnosed to be sure, what I have is exactly described under the umbrella of PFSS although my pain in the inner edge of the knee, not the front as in PFSS sufferers.

Symptoms are:

  • Limited ability to kneel, run or jump.
  • Difficulty getting up from a kneeling position on the floor is painful and difficult.
  • Ascending stairs is painful. Descending stairs is notably even more so.

Exercise, Supplements or Arthroscopy for Knee/Joint Pain?

I have had sore, weak knees for most of my adult life and have more-or-less come to accept it. It doesn't affect me on the job (which is strenuous) although I do suffer with the pain mostly off the job when at rest.

Usually the the dreaded knee pain comes at night when I lay in an unfavorable position.

Anti-inflammatory medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen help with swelling and pain and prepares me for the next day.

Pain Relief for Sore Joints

Coupled with with alternating ice/heat applications, stretching and exercise, the pain and stiffness can be managed. The very localized pain on my inner right knee is a constant presence for me, -a spot that I can exactly pinpoint using the tip of my index finger.

My doctor somewhat dismisses my complaints and states that even moderate weight loss and more exercise will do wonders.

Curiously, the pain also often occurs when at rest at a specific angle, sitting in the typical 'driver's position.' I have also read this being called 'theater seat position,' -the exact angle the leg is at when seated upright and feet flat to the floor. Moving the leg forward or backward just a few inches often relieves the pain, at least temporarily.

I sometimes have the sensation of a squishy 'fullness' in the back of the knee, like a finger pinched within the back hinge of the knee when I kneel.

This underlying symptom may or may-not be related to the specific pain on the point of contact of the femur (thigh) and tibia (shin) bones. It would require a doctor to make that determination, but this separate symptom might be a Baker's Cyst.

Knee Pain, Swelling in the Joint and the Bakers Cyst?

A Bakers Cyst is a fluid or gel-filled cyst in the back of the knee joint which can be drained using a special needle, or surgically removed in certain situations (such as the fluid being too thick to withdraw using a needle.)

Orthoscopy (insertion of small fiber-optic camera) into the confined space would reveal this diagnosis, and suggest treatment options to correct the cause of the cyst. I am not quite ready for that yet. But mostly, it is the chronic (long-term persistent) pain where the shin and tibia bone meet, just to the left of my kneecap that is the most vexing.

I have tried just about every 'miracle' OTC and alternative medicine that is available from calcium supplements (calcium carbonate, calcium citrate, etc.,) mega-doses of Vitamin-C, shark & chicken cartilage, etc. No supplement or exercise has been effective at easing my knee pain.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin Supplements for Joint Pain Relief?

And let's not forget Glucosamine and Chondroitin supplements. Glucosamine is a natural substance that is present in your body and responsible for lubricating healthy joints. Chondroitin helps maintain elasticity of joint tissue.

Commercially-available supplements of these OTC drugs are commonly sold for the purpose of repairing joints such as knees, etc.

Medical science says that these supplements might work, but maintain that there is no (or very little) available data supporting the apocryphal claims of the faithful whom swear by it. Statistics suggest that the actual user-success rate is closer to one-third, -falling just ahead of placebo-based results.

Further, it is suggested that these supplements are effectively 'broken down' by digestive juices in the stomach and small intestine, their efficacy being long diminished before reaching the achy and degenerative joints that they are supposed to help.

But I may have found something that actually works!

L-Proline - Effective & Fast Relief for Sore Joints?

Just for kicks and giggles I stopped by a GNC location, a retailer that specializes in vitamins, supplements, herbs, diet and sports nutrition and asked about what to do regarding my chronic knee pain. I expected the usual advice and recommendation for that $40 mega-bottle of Glucosamine and Chondroitin along with the caveat that ' takes several months of regular use' to feel any effects.

They said that likely glucosamine and chondroitin won't work for me given my explanation of the exact nature of my pain.

It was suggested that glucosamine and chondroitin might work for the small joints but for knees and specifically given the symptoms I described, they said it '...probably will not be effective' for me.

They recommended a supplement that helps the body synthesize proteins for better natural repair of the joint tissue. They recommended I try L-Proline, a non-essential amino acid supplement.

L-Proline, a Non-Essential Amino Acid

A non-essential amino acid essentially means that the body is capable of producing it naturally within healthy individuals. Found naturally within meats and protein, only a condition of L-proline deficiency would require anyone to take supplemental doses.

L-Proline helps repair the connective tissues of skin and muscle, and immune system support. It also plays a vital role in healthy collagen within the body.

With age, the body's natural supply of L-Proline decreases and perhaps this is why the flexibility and fluidity of joints tends to worsen as we age when diet and disease are not a contributing factor.

The GNC personnel recommended I try the L-Proline 500 mg. supplement, and stated that the beneficial effects should start being noticeable after as little as five days.

I tried the product and to my great surprise, within 4 days my knee pains were reduced easily by perhaps 30% or more and getting better daily! My knees have stopped their peculiar 'clicking' when extending the leg, and the occasional 'giving out' of the leg muscle of the thigh has also ceased. Getting up from a seated position no longer seems such a strain upon the chronically 'tired' muscles.

I am amazed at the result of taking one capsule of L-Proline twice a day during that first week and this, my second week taking this supplement as of this writing has been the most pain-free week in the last several years. I have not had to take my nightly anti-inflammatory naproxen maintenance dose for pain relief.

Are their Any Side Effects of Taking L-Proline Joint Pain Remedy?

L-Proline has no known side effects but as with any supplements if you are pregnant or nursing, or taking other medications or supplements, ask your doctor about any complications or contraindications of taking this supplement.

For sufferers of chronic sore knees that have not responded to taking the recommended doses of glucosamine and chondroitin, I urge them to consider trying the supplement L-Proline.

(all images incl. thumbnail by author)

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Comments (7)

I have a pain in one of my hips, I think it started at work, I wonder if this would help with that too.. guess it would not hurt.  Good info stickman.

L-Proline works! I'll be recommending this to few of my friends.

I have tried Glucosamine for my arthritic pain in my right hip and knee when it flared up, but it has never really worked for me. I think that I'll try the L-Proline next time.

This was a very worthwhile read for me Stickman, as it should be for anyone suffering from joint pain.

I rather wanted to tout the L-Proline product & name more prominately in the TITLE and first few paragraphs but without the reader knowing my background of joint/knee pain, the true value might be lost. Seriously, I am finding relief from this nagging, never-quiting knee pain that has plagued me for years! I mean, -I almost miss the pain as it was such a constant companion, if that makes any sense...

The 120-capsule bottle at GNC costs just under $20.00 and I would recommend it to anyone whom has tried Glucosa/Chondroit/MSM with no result and I mega-dosed these with no effect after months of dedicated use.

Yes, L-proline is not just for knees but any joint and/or connective tissue (muscle, ligament/tendon, etc.) where lubrication or lack thereof might be an issue. Myself, -I am tired of the 2-pills of naproxen or ibruprofin I have needed to take (and worried about long-term risk to my stomach etc.) twice or 3X daily, just to get beyond the wincing pain of getting up to walk after a sit or rest... I mean damn, -I'm old but not that old! :-\

So far, I don't have any chronic pain but I imagine the day will come.  Your article is very informative.

Excellent tips. I might discuss this option with my physician as I have leg and foot pain.

Now that's interesting. I'm a runner and usually have aches and pains everywhere. The only thing that's currently worked for me is Liquid Collagen which pretty much keeps me pain free, but I've never heard of L Proline... next time I'm out and about I think head to GNC and give it a go!