General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Anyone train with arthritis Rss Feed  
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2008-07-31 9:46 AM

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Hatboro, PA
Subject: Anyone train with arthritis
I have severe post-traumatic arthritis in my right ankle. I always have some level of achy pain, but recently (with training for a November marathon) my ankle is getting worse. I have an appointment scheduled for next week with a sports medicine doctor. (I decided against returning to see my podiatric surgeon, as he didn't have any options for me the last time I saw him.)

I was just wondering if anyone else trains regularly through the pain of arthritis. If you do, how do you deal with the pain? I am really concerned that I am going to be told that I can't run anymore, since the pain always gets worse with increases in running.


2008-07-31 10:35 AM
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Expert
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Alexandria, NH
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I have moderate osteoarthritis in my knee due to previous damage and now I have bone spurs due to the joint deterioriating.  I find that spinning, swimming and using the elliptical all seem to make it better.  Running is pretty much over for me.  I figure that triathlon is a hobby and I'm going to need to walk when I'm 60 so I'm making the choice to be aquabike king rather than make things worse prematurely.  It seems that almost all Doctors immediately say ok no more running.  I think it's pretty much reflex for them.  However they have a point.  I figure that it's a trade off I'm willing to make.
2008-07-31 11:55 AM
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Champion
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Sarasota, FL
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

I'm starting develop arthritis in my left hand.  I fractured it and dislocated a couple of fingers a couple of years ago.  My surgeon told me it was inevitable that I would develop arthritis in the knuckle that I hurt the worst.  The pain isn't too bad, but I do feel like I'm gradually losing strength in the hand.

Mark 

 

2008-08-01 6:53 AM
in reply to: #1572472

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Expert
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Hatboro, PA
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
Thanks for your responses. I am really hoping I don't have to go the aquabike route, as I love to run. I guess if I have to stop, I will, but I won't be happy. Hopefully, the sports medicine doctor has some useful advise.
2008-08-02 4:28 PM
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New York, NY
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I have post-traumatic osteoarthritis in one knee, and it doesn't bother me to run. I saw a sport med doctor, who told me to do triathlons instead of running all the time (that's why i started tris).

I love running and probably won't give it up until I can't do it anymore. However, as I said, I don't have pain with running, in fact, my knee sometimes feels worse if I don't run for a while. Running through pain isn't a good idea, because you will probably change your gait and may hurt something else.

Only you know what you are willing to do. Running is important to me, so I continue to do it. If I need knee replacements a few years down the road, it will be worth it to me. However, (disclaimer) I wouldn't expect any sane person to follow my lead. You have to do the cost/benefit analysis for yourself.

Incidentally, arthritis sufferers should take note, they are doing some amazing things with cartilage replacement these days. I'm sure sometime in the not too distant future, arthritis will be manageable in a way that doesn't compromise one's ability to do sports.
2008-08-13 5:35 PM
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Lilburn, GA
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I just got diagnosed with osteo arthritis and chondro also in my right knee.  Sports doc (!) says no more running until I can get the magic cartilage regeneration in about 5 years.  Crap.  Aquabike?  Any opinions on that one?  I've never done one.


2008-08-28 10:34 PM
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Richland, MS
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I am with Lorabby on this one.  My ortho doc told me no more running, since I like to run, I decided to try a triathlon in defiance.  I feel the pain with every step, I may regret it one day, but that is a chance I have to take.  So, that being said, I am just beginning on my training program for my first tri, so if anyone does have any good advice, I would love to hear it.
2008-09-08 2:01 PM
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Brownstown, MI
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I went to my doctor for knee pain and he said "it's probably arthritis or something".  To which I replied "can I continue normal activity?"  To which he said Yes.  I still have some pain in my left knee and it is worse sometimes than others, I have cut down on my run training and ramped up my bike and swimming.  I plan to try to slowly increase my running again.  We'll see what happens.
2008-09-11 9:03 AM
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Richland, MS
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I have been fighting this osteoarthritis for about a year and a half now.  I have had an unbelievable amount of pain and even had my knee scope, to which my doc remove what he called "Plica (sp)" from my knee.  It was explained to be some sort of a fibrous band that should have disolved when I was a child, but didn't.  Nontheless, I went last week and had a gait analysis done and was fitted for new running shoes..... man, that made a world of difference.  I am now running with very little pain thanks to my new Asics gels (motion control).  Just goes to shoe that a little knowledge goes a long way.
2008-09-15 3:59 AM
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Fort Wayne, IN
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I've had 2 surgeries on my left knee for chondromalacia.  I thought my running days were pretty much over and bought a high end elliptical trainer.  After using it for 3 months, I found my knee was much improved and I was able to run again without too many problems.  Triathlon training limits the amount of running I do and has worked out so far (training since May).  After my long bikes and runs I ice both knees.  I take ibuprofin AFTER running.  I also stretch many times each day.  I do worry about increased damage and possible knee replacement down the road.  I'm hoping the science of cartelage replacement gets there before that happens.
2008-09-16 8:43 PM
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Colorado
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

I train with Lupus, which involves joint pain (similar to arthritis) plus a few other things.  It is mainly in my feet, knees, hips, and hands.  I try to follow my training plan as much as possible, but there are many, many days that I have to go elliptical with my run.  Well over 50% of the time.  In a race I will try to run, and walk if I can't.  I've learned to be okay with that as I'd rather walk than not participate. 

As far as what I do to make the pain a little more tolerable...I have used those instant ice packs and shoved them in a knee brace, ankle brace, or bike glove.  I recently ordered some "Kool Wraps" which are thinner wraps that have a cooling gel inside.  They sound promising. There are also instant heat packs/wraps that might work for some.  I take glucosamine, hyaluronic acid, and chondroitin which actually does seem to help my knees.  There are also cortisone/lidocaine injections that I can get for the inflammation in my joints, but I'm not sure they do that for arthritis or not. 

Good luck.



2008-09-17 6:49 PM
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Hatboro, PA
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I have made the decision to not try for a marathon in November. I'm going to stick to the half-marathon distance for now. I am limited to running only 2-3 short runs/week and 1 long run/week. Any more than that and I want lots of pain meds.

It's interesting to hear everyone's stories. It makes me feel that I am not alone in trying to live an active lifestyle with a chronic medical condition.

Thank you all!
2008-09-17 8:48 PM
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TinkerBeth
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Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

I was diagnosed with osteo arthritis in both knees 4 years ago, I was heavily into kick boxing at the time, and the thought of doing a triathlon wasn't even a twinkle in my eye

at the time I was diagnosed, I could hardly walk up or down stairs without tears welling up in my eyes from pain and my knees were swollen every night

the dr recommended that I give up kick boxing and start biking and get back into swimming - I did some research and found several articles that stated that strengthing the muscles around the joint can add more support and relieve some of the symptomatic pain -

so, I gave it a try, I started a spinning class and got back in the pool

What ended up happening is that, I strengthened the muscular structure around my knees enough that I could start running, albeit slow

I find that as long as I listen to my body and don't push too hard, I can run without pain in my knees

I don't know if there are similar things for ankles, but it may be worth exploring

good luck and best wishes!

2008-09-28 3:55 PM
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Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
I didn't thoroughly read everyone's posts, so please forgive me if I repeat anything. I had a traumatic injury to my L knee when I was 6 that resulted in a staph infection in the joint. Years later I've had cartilage torn on both sides and multiple surgeries. I have degenerative arthritis and am seeing a Dr on Monday to discuss TKR.

HOWEVER....and here's the good part....I've received Synvisc injections in my knee joint a few times that have been tremendously helpful! I just read that they are doing them in ankles as well. I know for sure in Europe in 2007, but not sure if they are here yet. I train my running on the elliptical as well and have been told to do only non-impact exercises. In the end, I refuse to put my life on hold for the sake of my body. Body parts can be replaced, but memories with my children can't. I'm tired of telling them I can't run with them to play soccer because it hurts. I would strongly encourage you to ask your Dr about the Synvisc injections. They are 3 injections given one week apart. I actually got 5 the first time. It's like WD-40 for your joint. I had success for 2 years after my first set of injections, and was able to do pretty much anything. Good luck!

2008-09-30 7:42 AM
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Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

Good to find this thread.  A recent MRI indicated grade 3 chondromalacia in my right knee, and I know my left knee is not that far behind.  I see an orthopedic surgeon to discuss the diagnosis and the action plan for conserving what cartilage remains.

From the research I have conducted, I believe this will include: strengthening the quadriceps muscle if there is imbalance, losing some weight, eliminating running (at least until I am lighter), and who knows what else.

I am incredibly bummed at the likely possibility of giving up solo triathlons.  I do know plenty of runners, so relays are a possibility, but still not the same {sigh}.  

2008-09-30 10:07 AM
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Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

I found out recently that I have osteoarthritis in my knees.  In my case, I apparently upped my time/distance too quickly, and that led to my arthritic knees leaking joint fluid all over the place.  I now have a Baker's cyst I'm waiting to clear up, which put me off running or biking for a while.

I guess I need to reassess where the line is between "HTFU" & "listen to your body, take it slow". 

 



2008-10-30 9:41 AM
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Leesburg,
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
so i'm due for a total hip replacement or, hopefully, a hip resurfacing procedure in a few months.  i totally shot my left hip with 12 marathons and god knows how many road races/triathlons.  my left shoulder is also painfully thin on cartilage which is affecting my swimming.  running is painful but my thinking is that since they're going to chop me all to pieces soon anyway, i might as well enjoy the little cartilage i have left.    glad to have found this thread.
2008-11-14 11:21 AM
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Regular
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Mississippi
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
Yep, I'm fighting rheumatiod arthritis and have trouble running due to hip pain. However, I plan to increase my walking distance and hopefully begin running at a lighter weight. No problem with biking or swimming, thankfully. I'll do what I can and hope for the best. I hear hip replacements aren't too bad... Har!
2008-12-23 2:51 PM
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Member
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Omaha, NE, Nebraska
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis
Yep.  I have Ankylosing Spondylitis.  It is terribly painful on my knees (I've had 3 prior surgeries) and back to run so I only walk the run portion.  Depend on flare ups I can have difficultly just getting out of a chair let alone exercising, but the more consistent I am the less pain I tend to have.  I've also noticed less pain if I do yoga along w/any training.
2008-12-31 3:56 PM
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Pro
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Twin Cities
Subject: RE: Anyone train with arthritis

Glucosamine/Chondroitin

Advil before running--always.

Ice and ice baths after longer runs

Avoid hard surfaces (grass, then dirt/gravel trails, then blacktop, then roads, then concrete, in order of preference)

XT (aqua jogging, ET, etc)

No running on back to back days

Bracing or taping solution for after runing and on days when it is bad

And, finally...a high pain threshold ;-)

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