I've been chosen to represent my state in a Senior Citizen pageant. My biggest concern is walking normally. With osteoarthritis in both knees, I'm very slow and uneven when I walk. Is there anything I can do about this before the big day?

Walking speed and cadence or rhythm are often changed by pain and discomfort that comes with hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA). The first thing is to see your doctor for possible treatment options.

Pain is usually a way the body has to protect the joint. Shifting the weight to the other side and putting less load through the joint protects the joint. Weight loss can be a big help to anyone with hip or knee arthritis. Antiinflammatory and analgesic (pain relievers) drugs can help with the symptoms.

Sometimes injections of steroids or a special lubricating fluid can help. An X-ray is needed to find out how much joint space is left and how much damage is present. After starting with medical treatment, pay a visit to a physical therapist to work on your gait pattern. A few short sessions can help find muscle imbalance and weakness that may be additional factors. Good luck!