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Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
arthritis question on 03/14/2009 22:02:17 MDT Print View

I was (very) recently diagnosed with arthritis of my left hip. The doctor wants me to cut back on hiking, backpacking, and gym workouts. Seems he thinks 20 mile day hikes are counter-indicated, and my gym workouts are OK for "younger people". :(

My question is "so what"? Not being flippant -- just trying to understand what I need to be conscious of. For example, how do I tell when I am just working muscle in the neighborhood of a joint, or when I am pushing too much? Does anything help ameliorate this, or at least arrest its progress?

What I am hoping is that I am not the first to have to grapple with understanding this, and who wants to continue to get out. Any comments and/or advice from those experienced in dealing with this would be very much appreciated.

-- Bob

cary bertoncini
(cbert) - F

Locale: N. California
sorry to hear on 03/14/2009 22:20:14 MDT Print View

i have some arthritis in my hips - also shows up in feet & hands a bit

the arthritis in my hips makes me think 20 mile days won't be happening anymore - i don't think i've gone over about 14 or so since having it show up

some natural anti-inflammatory herbs are turmeric (i toss it in most things i cook now), boswellia (i take a supplement) and ginger (cook with & have in tea). there are others: keeping a good intake of omega 3/6 fats will help. all these are low level & require regular intake for much positive effect

i think you should get a second opinion - you might not be able to comfortably do as much as before, but most of what i understand about arthritis suggests activity is better than non-activity, but pushing the limit is less rewarding - i think some depends on what is causing the arthritis: it's another of those catch-all quasi-diagnosis terms that describes symptoms/effects but doesn't necessarily mean the doctor has a clue what is going on

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: arthritis question on 03/14/2009 23:32:04 MDT Print View

Seems to me that humans evolved to walk, so I can't see why you should cut back on walking - at a reasonable rate. Well, not until it hurts too much, anyhow. :-)

Gym workouts? Consult a good sports doctor about this. Actually, consult a good sports doctor anyhow! Get a second opinion. There are workouts which are meant for young macho footballers with a definite burnout date, and there are gym workouts which are just meant to keep you fit and flexible.

High impact stuff - should probably be avoided. Doesn't cover walking though.

Just my 2c worth.

Cheers

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: sorry to hear on 03/14/2009 23:32:55 MDT Print View

Cary,

Thanks.

20 mile days -- I was doing 20+ mile days up through last spring -- I'd like to get back to that unless it is clear it will harm me. I did 12 miles and several thousand feet this afternoon (Ed Levin park, up over Monument Peak, over to Mission Peak, and back the way I came -- want to try to not embarrass myself on our Coe trip). Good start, but I sure wish I could again do twice that in a full day, and it is clear that I'm not currently up to that.

Supplements -- I already take fish oil for the omega stuff and glucosamine/chondroitin for joints regularly (daily). Don't know whether it helps, but it seems to so I keep with it. I'll look into your other suggestions.

Second opinion -- due to circumstances, I already do have a second opinion.

Activity -- Dr and I need to talk more about it. His basic thought seems to be that he is not wild about weight-bearing activity on the joint. That affects gym workouts as well as hiking. As with the 20-mile days, I need to undertand what feelings I'll have, what is actually harmful, etc.

-- Bob

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
arthritis question on 03/14/2009 23:44:59 MDT Print View

I've found that keeping mobile is extremely important. Every time I slack off on my exercise program, I start getting aches and pains! I've found that the older my joints get, the more important it is to keep the muscles supporting those joints strong.

Is your doctor a specialist? If not, ask for a referral. Find out what is going on with your joints--is the hip joint wearing out and is that what is causing the pain? If so, you may need to reduce shock and stress (maybe cut back a bit on long mileage and steep downhills, use trekking poles, reduce pack weight) or end up with hip replacement surgery. It might be that more of your conditioning exercise should be non-weight-bearing so you save the joints for actual hiking. I found swimming to be wonderful for arthritis. I'm not a very good swimmer so I probably work 2-3 times as hard to swim 500 yards as do my children who were competitive swimmers in childhood.

I personally will not stick with any physician who says I need to stop my current activities due to "old age." Yes, I have slowed down, (letting my own body, not the doctor, tell me what to do) but I will never stop hiking as long as I can manage to put one foot in front of another!