Fast changes

I was only diagnosed with osteoarthritis earlier this year and I'm a bit scared by the speed things have changed. I've gone from the occasional grumbly pain which didn't impact on my life at all to almost constant pain somewhere - like suddenly my ankles hurt so much I can barely walk or put weight on them, my hands and wrists are very sore when I twist, squeeze or pull something. It's not all the time and not as dramatic as it sounds, sometimes a twinge sometimes more - I know I'm not in as much pain as a lot of the people here so I feel a bit embarrassed to be moaning, it's just that I've been very active up till recently, long walks, running, yoga, qigong etc etc but now I get tired very quickly, can't garden like I could last year, need to sleep more, oh dear what a catalogue of low level woes. I'm worried, is this what happens? I thought it would be a while before the osteoarthritis impacted on my life. I suppose it varies but I'm quite scared and anxious that at this rate I'll be in real trouble by the end of this year. I am trying to do what I have always done and the result is I feel really ill, have more pain and can do less plus it takes me longer to recover when I push myself to do what I could pre diagnosis. Am I doing too much? It's so hard to accept I have a problem, like if I keep pushing I'll be okay - I guess that's not true and it's scary.


  • noddingtonpete
    noddingtonpete Moderator Posts: 826

    Hi @Izzy72 pain is different for all of us and yes, getting osteoarthritis is a shock at first as suddenly things we used to do all the time are painful. Has the doctor prescribed any pain meds? If not I would go back and ask. Have a look through the following

    You may need a period of readjustment, but you will be able to get your life back on track, maybe moderate some of what you used to do, but you can still do a lot.

    Best wishes


    Need more help? - call our Helpline on 0800 5200 520 Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • Izzy72
    Izzy72 Member Posts: 30

    Thanks for your reply Peter,

    I think it's the speed of change that is particularly worrying me but I'm sure you are right and I will adapt as time passes.

    Best wishes

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    Hi Izzy72,

    I can totally empathise with your situation having been diagnosed with OA in both knees last Summer, the result of too much high-impact sport. Osteo-Arthritis isn't predictable and I've come to accept I have good days and bad days It's par for the course so I've tried to focus on activities and treatments which mean I get more days between flare-ups.

    It is possible, advisable even, to lead an active life. All the advice is to strengthen the muscles and soft tissues around affected joints, though being active I imagine you'll be in good shape anyway so you're already ahead of the game.

    Firstly, I would focus your attention on pain management. Peter has already provided the link to the article on the website about this and I imagine you'll end up with a mixture of GP prescribed anti-inflammatories, painkillers and "natural" alternatives/remedies as outlined in the article. Some work better than others and some may not agree with you at all so trial and error I'm afraid.

    Secondly, I looked at changing the activities I used to do as these were causing my condition to worsen. I had to cut out any high impact sport completely, so out went Badminton and Running. In came cycling, walking and Spin Classes at the local sports centre so explore other sports and pastimes which won't make your condition worse such as the ones I've taken up, plus others such as Swimming for example. I found wearing knee supports and my running socks increased stability and confidence and the compression helped with the swelling too.

    Thirdly I would like to cover mental-wellbeing and motivation. The last thing you'll probably feel like doing during a flare-up is to go for a walk, do physio and so on but I found building a routine I would not deviate from come what may on a daily/weekly basis turned it into a habit and habits are hard to break. Conquering my body and going through the pain barrier was a real boost - I'm in control of my Arthritis, not the other way round. To help with motivation I reward myself, for example walking or cycling somewhere for a cuppa and a slice of cake or a walk into town for a glass or two of wine and a bite to eat, the activity becomes a pleasure not a necessity.

    So a long list but hope some of these might help you to keep going physically and emotionally.

    Take care,


  • Izzy72
    Izzy72 Member Posts: 30

    Thanks Jon, your reply is really, really helpful and encouraging too. I'll certainly revise my pain management and I see what you mean about modifying my activities so that they actually benefit me rather than making things worse. I agree rewards are great motivators! I take part in a lot of Strava and other online challenges so the badges and medals I earn are the equivalent of your tea and cake - mind you yours must taste a lot better than mine so I'll take that tip too.

    Your comments about mental well-being are very relevant, I use exercise to manage anxiety and depression so my biggest fear is not being able to get out for my 'medicine'. This morning as I woke under a gloomy cloud of defeat and couldn't see a way forward but now I can. So thank you again for showing me that I can carry on doing the activities I love, I just need to make a few changes, adjust my plans for this year and maybe give up running.

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 358

    You're most welcome Izzy, glad you found some useful tips amongst my essay!

    I'm guessing you've had your knees XRay'd, if so have you been told where the damage lies?

    You might notice you're getting a lot of tendon strains, particularly hamstrings which won't enable you to extend your legs properly to stand up or lock if getting out of the car. If so, I thoroughly recommend a deep tissue massaging gun, lots to choose from on Amazon. I use this every morning to smooth out stiffness and keep the tendons supple and when I've had a lock it helps to release it.

    You've not mentioned what medication and supplements you're on but I was throwing anything I could get my hands on down my throat and some made the pain, achiness and heat worse. Glucosamine and Type 2 Collagen really disagreed with me in particular and since I've stopped taking those I have a lot less tendon pain.

    I think the name of the game is to find other activities which will give you the cardio endorphin release which running does but won't make your condition worse. In doing so, you'll most likely be able to stay fit and healthy and still get into your current clothes and that's certain to keep a positive self-image which can only help you further mentally.

    Good luck and let me know how you get on!


  • Nfk_gal0617
    Nfk_gal0617 Member Posts: 39

    Hi Izzy, Sorry to hear you have had to cope with so much change in a short time. Not easy to accept and adjust. I was wondering how you were diagnosised. My pain and stiffness moved around from foot to wrists and more recently fingers swollen. Although my GP originally said osteo it turns out I have inflamatory arthritis and have just started on some treatment after 6 years.

    Take care, Nfk Gal

  • Izzy72
    Izzy72 Member Posts: 30


    No I haven't had any knee (or anywhere else) xrays, my GP did blood tests which came back negative for rheumatoid markers so she said in that case it's osteoarthritis because all the symptoms fit. She just said take paracetamol and go back if they stop helping and that was it.

    I haven't experienced any tendon or hamstring issues and no joint locking. I am stiff when I get up but moving about eases that so I take my dog for a long walk once it's light enough not to be scary in the forest! It can be quite painful for a while but if I keep going the pain eases away, I had a few days when my ankles kept collapsing and the pain was horrid when I put my feet down, but sitting and resting only made it worse when I did stand up so on the 3rd day I put my boots on and went out - and yes it was sore but gradually things eased and I went for my usual long haul.

    I don't take any medication (maybe the odd paracetamol) or supplements, I've always been reluctant to take anything until I absolutely need to, I prefer to get what I need from food, although I expect I'll have to at some point. I'm 73 next month so I guess that might be sooner rather than later!

    My Qigong teacher (online classes) had very bad arthritis before she started learning it and now is supple and largely pain free. I don't exepect the same level of success but the classes very helpful. I'll carry on with my current activities although running may have to go because fatigue creates a long recovery time even after just short runs. I'll see how that goes, maybe replace it with swimming.

    Thanks again for all your helpful comments, you have certainly lifted me out of the defeatist gloom! best wishes and I hope you stay well. Diane

  • Izzy72
    Izzy72 Member Posts: 30

    Goodness me that's a long time to wait for treatment, I hope you are feeling better now. My diagnosis was more by default than anything more precise. Blood tests showed that I didn't have rheumatoid so my GP said it had to be osteo given my symptoms - and that was it. She said take paracetamol 4 times a day until it gets worse then go back and she'll prescribe something stronger. I know what you mean about pain moving around, I have that too, one day I can balance on one leg - as you do - and the next I can't put either foot on the ground without gritting my teeth. 😀 stay well, Diane