Me and Exercise and THE KNEE

Ahh, in looking back, I see the computer went down just about the same time as I went to the doctor’s.  To make a long story short, at the end of our visit, I asked her what she thought it might be (wrong with my knee) and she looked at me and said “Its probably just arthritis.”  And then the X-ray added to that “significant moderate to severe osteoarthritis.”  There is an MRI ordered, and an ortho consult ordered.  But since I have to pay a part of my medical bills now, I am weighing that carefully.  I am going to get a bone scan done, and I actually think going to a rheumatologist might be better than the ortho consult.

In the meantime, with that provisional diagnosis, at first I was dismayed.  Because it seems there is very little that can actually be done for arthritis.  But then I thought, well, make the best of it.  And for whatever reason, I feel better than I have in a long time.

Here is what I am doing consistently:

  • Swimming  (at least 3 days a week, and for 30-70 minutes at a time)
  • Taking motrin every morning, and occasionally in the evening if needed
  • Taking my B12 every morning (don’t know if this helps, but my brother swears by it.)
  • Doing serious stretching (this was Vicky’s suggestion for the knee pain.)
  • Trying hard to NOT cross my legs. I know it puts pressure on my knees, but its a hard habit to stop.
  • Walking twice a day, but staying with the shorter distances, and trying to walk where its more level.

So I’m not sure what is working the best, but I’m gonna stick with this routine until it stops working!

I am loving my new swim toys.  I start out by using my water shoes to walk/jog 10 lengths (using my lap counter!)  Then I switch to the swim fins, and use a paddle board to work my legs one way for a while, then ditch the paddle board and do my usual side stroke with the fins on.  The fins do make me go faster, but they also provide more resistance, so I have to work harder.  Finally, I ditch the fins and swim side stroke to finish out the session.

And (drum roll please!) Monday I swam a mile!  I was not planning on doing it that day, but somewhere in the middle of the swim I realized I had gotten into that great place where you think you can swim forever.  It all seems effortless and timeless.  So now on to my next goal of swimming 2.4 miles.  I think the main barrier here will be time.  I am not a fast swimmer, so it will require me to stay in the pool for at lest 2 1/2 hours to complete this.  We’ll see how it goes.

Next project: get on the bike!  I got a bike rack for the back of the car, and yesterday I took the bike for a test drive–on the back of the car.  I ended up never taking it off the rack and riding it!  (don’t laugh, Lori!)  I was nervous about the rack, and then the chores got in the way and I just never got it done.  I am planning to ride it today.

12 thoughts on “Me and Exercise and THE KNEE

  1. Wow – a mile of swimming! That is a lot – Woo Hoo!!!

    An ortho will get you on an arthritis suppression program. They can do lots of conservative management that will help you out. I might skip the MRI and go right to ortho if they think it is arthritis rather than something soft tissue.

    Bikes definitely do better on the road than on the back of a car, but at least it got a nice view of the scenery. I love seeing someone else on a bike 😀

  2. Well that sucks. I feel for you having to try to make these decisions but I think you’ve got a great plan in place in the meantime. Hope you get in a great bike ride!

  3. I like your idea of skipping the ortho and going to a rheumatologist. As mine once told me, an ortho doctor is a surgeon. That’s what they do. A rheumatologist will treat the whole issue with lots of suggestions and strategies. When (or if) an ortho becomes necessary, the rheumatologist will know and can refer you at that time. You’re doing the right things – swimming is the best exercise you can do.

  4. I am so impressed with your mile swim – that is a lot of laps!!! That “swim zone” is cool once you reach it – you are making me miss swimming now!

    Not crossing your legs – I try to remember to do that, too, as it seems to bug everything. But yeah, it’s a hard habit to break. Along with what you’re doing, are you taking fish oil? I was having knee aches when I first started running and was about to go buy some glucosamine, but my trainer and the guy at GNC said that fish oil has the same joint benefits, plus that heart healthy stuff, too.

    Putting a bike on the back of the car makes me nervous. I completely understand your test drive! Am only laughing a little that you didn’t ride at all, though. 😉

  5. Was that mention of sitting with your legs crossed an intentional nudge for me to uncross mine? 🙂 (Seriously, I looked down when I read it and sure enough, my legs were crossed. Now just my ankles are crossed LOL)

    Sorry about your diagnosis. 😦 I have no idea what the best course of medicine is, but I know you’ll choose the right path.

    Great progress with the mile swim! I can’t even imagine it.

  6. If it makes you feel better, I have osteoarthritis in my back, knees and feet, but i still run and do lots of walking. I went to a chiropractor. He made me orthotics for my running shoes and told me to wear a brace on my knee. I try not to overdo the running and often do more of an interval run/walk than straight running. As long as I pay attention to what my knees are telling me and give them a rest when they need it, I do OK. Swimming is great though! If you can do that on a regular basis, you may not need to worry about the other stuff.

  7. I’m 49 and have arthritis in both knees and my feet and have had for years. Being obese most of my life is going to do that, but I attribute other things to it too. My war wounds. I was a catcher in soft ball for a couple of years as a pre teen and have had knee issues ever since. I have almost constant slight pain which I guess is arthritis in my ring finger on the left hand , and I don’t have as strong a grip on that hand. That was the finger that I jammed in to a log while riding/ falling of a bike in the woods. Then there’s my “Yoga thumb” .

    This is my tried and true regimen. I take glucosamine chondroitin msm (usually the buy one get one free at Kroger) and Fish oil. After being an ortho nurse for years, I’ve learned that this remedy doesn’t work for everyone but if I skip a couple of days I can tell it. I’ve had physical therapy for my knees and still do some exrercises every couple of days. The P.T.s use warmth before exercise, stretching, and then icing afterward as the regimen. When I don’t exercise regularly and make sure my range of motion is kept up things just go to hell. Nurse to nurse, if you can get off the motrin it would be better, but see what your doc says. I takeAleive when needed , but I have a prescription Mobic which is more heavy duty. If you keep taking Motrin you’ll end up with a Gi consult too.. trust me.

    One of the hardest lessons to learn was that I can actually do more than I think I can. Then there are times when I over do it or hurt myself and have to stop doing what I want to do. Just keep it very simple and rebuild my strength and mobility.

    sorry to go on and on . but it is something I’ve been working with for a few years.

  8. Oh, the A word. I’ve heard that from my doctor, too. I’m ignoring it for now. Love all your swimming. I should try using some swim toys, I think the last time I had on swim fins was when I was about 6 (in 1957)!
    I have never been thin long enough to get into the habit of crossing my legs. I did notice that I had them crossed the other day, but I’d guess that I almost never do.
    LOL about the bike rack. Makes me nervous too. And I have a heck of a time getting the bike on and off the rack. We’ve discovered that both of our bikes will fit in the trunk of DH’s new car (when the back seats are folded down). That’s a winner option for me.

  9. Wow! A mile! I’m impressed. Sounds like you are in a good place and making educated decisions about your health. Looking forward to learning more as you do.

  10. I am very impressed with your mile! I know exactly how far a mile is since I have seen my husband and son swim them, that is a lot of laps. Be very proud. I left a link (to this post) for a couple other bloggers who have massive knee and foot problems as encouragement. The pool is the answer for a lot of people.

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