How severe is my arthritis?

I have had pain in my knees and joints since I was injured playing football 30 years ago. I was told then that I had arthritis on my knee and that was that. Since then, thanks to diets and natural cures I have managed to cope with my swollen knees and general pain in my bones. When I visit my GP he always says that all is normal... Wear and tear because of age.

Well, I am 69 and very fit. I am an artist, I teach, I have a studio and I plan to be very active at least for the next 10 years. I would like to know how severe is my arthritis and to get professional information about it without having to pay bills that I cannot afford. I have lived in London for the last 47 years. I have no family, no children no bfs and since Brexit life here is not exactly a bed of roses.

Can you help?

Comments

  • SarahGF
    SarahGF Moderator Posts: 125

    Hi @BOSCHE,

    Welcome to the online community! It's lovely to have you here.

    I see that you have arthritis in the knees originating from an injury (would I be right in saying you have been diagnosed with secondary osteoarthritis?) and that you have been managing your condition with alternative therapies and diet so far but are looking for professional advice. I am sure that many here understand the frustration of being told that their pain is 'just' wear and tear or that it is something to accept with age.

    Unfortunately, we are not qualified to give anyone medical advice, so I really would recommend speaking to a professional. Perhaps you could ask your GP for a second opinion or to be referred to an NHS pain clinic? How to get NHS help for your pain - NHS (www.nhs.uk). You can also call the Versus Arthritis helpline 0800 5200 520 on weekdays between 9am and 8pm for advice.

    It is excellent that you are planning on keeping active, as careful exercise is one of the best things you can do for your joints. The Let's Move programme is designed specifically to help people with arthritis - you can sign up with this link:

    Please do feel free to continue to browse the online community and join in wherever you like. It's good to talk :)

    Best wishes,

    Sarah (moderator) x

  • Lilymary
    Lilymary Member Posts: 1,303

    Ooh, that makes me cross, docs saying "wear and tear due to age is normal". Yes, bits of us wear out more the longer we've been around and active, but to write off the pain of arthritis as "normal wear and tear" is insultingly dismissive. It's not "just wear and tear" from our pov, it's "PAIN"! and in other conditions, pain gets treated. We just get told to put up with it. Grrr..

    Really the only way to find out how bad is the arthritic damage to any joint is by xray, but it can be difficult to persuade your doc that you need one. They tend to only send people for xrays if it's associated with a surgical outcome. I'd had the old "wear and tear" diagnosis for ages until the results of a fall meant I was in constant pain and could hardly move, at which stage the arthritic damage was so bad I was put straight on the list for a new hip. But having said that, if I had been xrayed a year or so before, nothing would have prevented the continuing deterioration.

    An assessment by a qualified physio may be helpful, and they may be able to give you exercises to strengthen the muscles around your knee so that the damaged joint is better supported. Otherwise, if your pain is becoming disabling, it's time to get a bit more "politely assertive" with your doc. If they still don't want to put you on the path of investigation and treatment, ask to be referred to a pain clinic.

  • stellabean
    stellabean Member Posts: 302

    Hi Bosche, sorry you are having problems. Before covid it was possible to self refer to the hospital physio when having joint problems, or at least in my area ( Northern pennines) We have to as our GP will not send us for xrays as it will come out of their budget they tell us to self refer to physio. I saw one about trouble with my knee she sent me for an x ray she thought there was something in the joint ( the report said there was nothing wrong) but there was clearly some foreign body in the joint. She sent me for a scan and referred me to surgeon and I had keyhole surgery. That has helped but things have got worse since I am waiting to see Rhuemy in a couple of weeks.

    You could try asking your GP for a physio referral they can now order tests and xrays as well as giving exercises that can help with strength and stability. It sometimes feels like you are banging your head on a wall but you have to keep doing it to get any where. Good luck.