It has been more than three decades since Hank Aaron retired from baseball. But in the minds of many baseball purists, none since Aaron, and maybe none before, has been as great as “The Hammer.” Today, Aaron continues to be an ambassador for baseball and one of nation’s true living legends.

For many years Aaron has dealt with osteoarthritis, or OA, in his right knee. Like so many others, Aaron struggled to find an arthritis treatment that would give him back the active lifestyle he so wanted.

Aaron was almost resigned to the fact that he would hurt the rest of his life, and that his grandson would have to settle for a game of checkers with him rather than a game of hoops. Then a doctor asked Aaron if he was willing to try a new drug.

“I’ll try anything,” Aaron said.

A year later, Aaron says the relief he has felt has been nothing short of miraculous. He has participated in the Arthritis Foundation's Arthritis Walk and is working with the Foundation to spread awareness about the importance of physical activity in the treatment of arthritis.

Q: When did your knee start hurting, and how did it progress?

A: In terms of retiring from baseball, it probably started hurting about 10 years later. I had a chance to rest after baseball, and then it said, ‘that’s enough rest, Hank.’ I was still trying to walk on the golf course and doing some things that I thought I should be able to do. It wasn’t until four or five years ago that I went to the doctor for it though; they diagnosed it right away. Arthritis is something that came with age, so I thought, and I wasn’t ready to accept that I was old.

Q: Had you planned an active retirement? What was the arthritis cheating you of out of?

A: I was totally disappointed and it was embarrassing that I couldn’t do things I used to do. I was never a very good golfer, but I liked going out there and playing. And I couldn’t play tennis like I used to. I had gotten pretty used to being able to do those things and you don’t realize just how dependant on your legs you are.

Q: What gave you relief from your osteoarthritis?

A: I tried all the different medicines, but they either wouldn’t work for me, or they’d work for a little while, and then stop working. I’d gotten cortisone shots that would work for 10 days or less. I was happy to get some relief from the pain, but it was short-lived. When Synvisc-One, a non-systemic therapy injection, came out and they wanted me to test it, I said yes right away. I would have done anything.

Knock on wood; I’ve had no trouble with the knee at all since then. I’ve had two shots, and while I’m sure it’s not good for everything, for me, for my knee, it has been a total success. I had gotten to where I couldn’t drive a car from home to the ballpark because my right knee was hurting too bad to accelerate or to brake. Nor could I sit in one place.