Hello all ...

MelanieC
MelanieC Member Posts: 5
edited 26. Aug 2013, 06:07 in Say Hello Archive
Hello, I'm Melanie. After years of creaky, painful knees and a big toe which wouldn't move much, I was formally diagnosed with severe OA in my knees and feet last year. A bit of a disaster for a dance teacher! I've just had a cheilectomy on my toe to try to restore range of motion, but my left knee has been in flare for nearly 3 months now and showing no sign of going back to being weight bearing, which is leaving me rather depressed and wondering whether I shall be able to get back to dancing and teaching once my toe has healed. The main problem is that I get the sense from the medical professionals that although the OA is severe, it can't be that serious for me if I'm still trying to dance and teach. So, my dilemma will be when to give up - but I'm not ready to yet!

Comments

  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,552
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello, it's nice to meet you and I hope we can help with information and support. I remember when I last danced, it was ten years ago and I know it will never happen again, purely thanks to having two sorts of arthritis and thirty nine affected joints. You get used to losing the ability to do stuff. :wink:

    I have OA in both knees, both ankles and now my right hip. I know that the OA in the knees was caused by the joint damage from my other arthritis, but the ankles and hips are affected because a) they've been thrown out of kilter thanks to the knees and poor walking ability and b) any form of arthritis, just like life, is progressive and degenerative. By all means keep dancing as much as you can but, as it's a high-impact activity, it will place further stress on already damaged joints which is rarely a good idea.

    Doctors go on what we tell them about us and how we are being affected. They work with the theory but we have the reality. I am seventeen years in on my life with arthritis, I desperately need new knees but still have another year to wait uintil I am old enough - the further damage to the rest of my OA joints will be more by then and could render the new knees almost useless. Believe you me, we are never ready to 'give up' but sometimes that adjustment is forced upon us. It's not easy, yes? DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,623
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello from me too, MelanieC. That really is a difficult problem for you. I had a friend who was a dance teacher and I know how much she loved it and the children she taught.

    OA is problematic in that it goes at its own pace in each of us so it's hard to predict at what point stuff will become impossible. However, as DD has pointed out, one joint out of kilter can soon put pressure on others. Exercise is very good for arthritis but it has to be the right kind of exercise and dancing is very 'weight-bearing' for the knees. Have you had access to a physio? One specialising in musculo-skeletal stuff would be good. It might be that you've been able to put up with things for so long because you were very fit to start off with. Strong muscles are a big asset in protecting weak joints.

    The trouble with docs and OA is that there's not a huge amount they can do for it other than prescribing pain relief, anti-inflammatories and maybe the odd steroid jab. Then they pack you off to the orthopaedic surgeon for new joints. I have two TKRs. They're brilliant but I've never tried dancing on them though it might be possible.

    Maybe it would help you to have a chat with our Helpline people.
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 27,389
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Melanie

    Welcome to the forums from me. I hope you will find the people on here as supportive as I have over the years :)

    Poor you :( how awful to get OA in joints which affect your ability to do something so important to you :shock: I wonder if this is due to the pressure they are put under by the dancing?

    Good that the toe has had surgery so that will help a bit. I know surgery on your knees is an option, but they do like to leave it as long as possible because they see the replacements at sort of 'time limited'. Could your age be a factor in that?

    It's a bit unfair to imply that your lifestyle should prevent you getting help though :( I would have thought 'they' would prefer you/us to be as active as possible...

    anyway welcome from me

    Love

    Toni xxx
  • MelanieC
    MelanieC Member Posts: 5
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have to say, I am in awe of what some on this forum have to deal with on a daily basis. I've had a few chats with GPs, pharmacist and physio on self management, but I don't think you truly appreciate what it entails until you do it. I find my physio exercises alone take a chunk out of my day! I'm grateful that so many experts come to this forum to share their experience.
    I was trained in ballet and contemporary, but had to give up in my early 30s due to gyne problems. I quickly got very fat and unfit! After a couple of bouts of surgery, I had no core strength and gave up dance completely. Eventually I changed jobs and moved to a small farm in the middle of nowhere. I decided that I really missed dancing, so took up belly dance, which is low impact and good for all sizes, ages and levels of fitness, and got hooked! I now teach belly dance for ages 14+, am still fat and unfit, but can accept that I can change those gradually, and I can have fun and sparkle while I do it. Even if other changes forced upon me mean that I have to get someone else to sweep up the glitter! :D

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