Last night I went to an opera at the local performing arts center. I noticed that I was able to stand for short periods without pain, something that has become apparent over the past several weeks. I think this is the first noticeable improvement. My calf still retains its stiffness, that stiffness that started with the "flareup" a few years ago, but I don't have nearly as much pain. I also notice that I do not stiffen as much as I did before, so that when I stand up after sitting for a while I recover my flexibility more quickly.
I read a report on an extensive study that was completed recently that concluded that the use of glucosamine and chondroitin - both and separately - appear to be beneficial for those of us with moderate to severe arthritic pain. It's more difficult to determine if it is of any benefit to those with mild pain. This study recommended that people with moderate to severe arthritis pain try these supplements for three months, then evaluate the effects. Although it's impossible for me to separate the effectiveness of the supplements from the effectiveness of the exercises, I think it's safe to say the supplements can't hurt and are probably helping.