I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with your arthritis - I, too, have severe osteo arthritis in all my joints, but most severe in my knees, ankles and right shoulder (I've already had that shoulder replaced).
I do get the pain in my lower legs and the burning/aching feeling. I believe, and so does my doctor (because they haven't determined anything else that is causing it) it's because, as a result of the arthritis, my gait has been involuntarily adjusted - you basically unconsiously change the way you're walking because of the pain/instability in your knee/s and that puts additional stress on other parts of your legs/hips/back, etc.
the lack of strength is also something I have. My doctor explained it to me the reason that this happens is because your joints are bone on bone and it hurts to walk/move, your muscles actually work harder to do the same job they used to do very easily, so therefore they get tired and weak much easier and don't have the chance to recouperate.
Have you tried either cortisone injections in the knee or even the Synvisc or Euflexxa injections? The cortisone might help reduce some of the inflammation and therefore, possibly reduce some of the pain. The Synvisc or Euflexxa injections are injections of a naturally occuring substance that is found in our joints (hyleroinc acid I believe it's called) - it helps cushion the joint and therefore might help with the pain. However, both of these types of injections are temporary helps, if they even work. I've had both cortisone injections and the Euflexxa (I couldn't do Synvisc because it's an avian derivative and I'm allergic to feathers - the Euflexxa is the same type of medication but is made from non-avian things). The cortisone helped me slightly for about a week - the Euflexxa I noticed absolutely no difference with.
Unfortunately, the only permanent help for osteo arthritis pain, especially when it's at the point of bone on bone, is joint replacement. As I said, I've aleady had my right shoulder replaced and have been told that I definitely need to have both knees done, but my doctor and I are TRYING to postpone doing those as long as possible because I'm only 46 and because I'm considered a "younger" patient, I more than likely would have to have them redone at a later time. So we're hoping to wait and do them later on when I have a better chance of the initial surgery being the only ones I'll need.
I agree that living in pain like this is no way to live. Try to do as much as you can to alleviate some of your pain, including using aids such as a walker or cane to give you some additional support, resting with your legs elevated whenever posible (helps keep swelling down), ice or heat (whichever works best for you - ice will tend to reduce swelling better, but for me, I find that ice tends to make my pain worse, so I use heat more often). Even possibly check with your doctor about getting some kind of brace/support that you could wear to give you more support/stability. You very well may find that the better you're able to support your knee, the better your lower leg will feel also.
Best of luck and please keep us informed as to how you're doing. Read More At : ...