Recently diagnosed with OA and feeling overwhelmed

NicoS
NicoS Member Posts: 3
edited 28. Nov 2023, 14:11 in Living with arthritis

Hi everyone,

I'm 50 years old, and I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis about 4 months ago. I never had any issues, then I stopped drinking (I was a heavy drinker), got active and lost a lot of weight a year ago and suddenly BOOM, I'm in constant pain.


My arthritis is on both sides, hands, wrists, elbows, and feet. On top of that I've developed trigger finger in my pinkies which is incredibly painful at night (this might have come first). I have no swelling or warm joints or bumps or any of those regular telltales.


The feet is a big issue for me as walking is how I deal with mental wellbeing, and I can now no longer do it regularly.


I don't understand how I went in maybe 7 months from nothing to struggling to sleep from being in so much pain in so many joints. Ibuprofen and paracetamol doesn't make much, if any, difference. I've been prescribed codeine, but I'm too afraid I will become addicted so haven't used the prescription.


I was always under the impression this was a slow disease (my mom had OA, my sister has it). If it is this aggressive, how long before I lose all mobility? I'm pissed off that my reward for turning to a healthy lifestyle is being in pain.


Where I live it takes 8 weeks to see a GP, and the waiting list for a rheumatologist is 2 years (they haven't even put me on that list anyway). I am looking for advise from others in my positions please:


1. What strategies do I use to cope with the mental side? Just thinking that I have to spend the rest of my life not sleeping or taking part in any hobbies greatly distresses me.

2. Does anybody have any tips specifically for dealing with pain in the feet? I have pain in many of the foot joints, but particularly in the ball behind my big toes and mid-feet in the arches (I've ordered extra wide shoes). Seeing a podiatrist is £250 just for a consultation, I can't justify that type of spend at the moment.

3. I need some kind of wrist and hand support that still allows me to type and generally use my hands. Can anyone recommend any types and brands and online stores? I'm going to assume off the bat that all compression gloves are not equal and cannot afford to try them all.

4. I fully understand that I need to keep active. I have never enjoyed indoor exercise, or exercising with other people (like classes and stuff), what do you guys do to keep active?

I apologise for starting out with such a long moan of a post, every day that goes past I'm feeling a little bit more sad.

Two months ago I would walk 20km, now if I walk five I'm out of action for two days or more. I can't help but think about where I will be in 6 months, or a year, if it got this bad in 6 months.

Thanks for listening,

NicoS

Comments

  • Naomi33
    Naomi33 Moderator Posts: 194

    Hello @NicoS and welcome to the online community.

    We are a friendly and supportive group and I hope that will be your experience as well.

    Sorry to hear you have concerns about Osteoarthritis the following links maybe helpful......

    I like was overwhelmed after being very active but found the above courses helped me understand and get support with my condition.

    Please keep posting and let us know how you are getting on and I am sure others will connect with you soon.

    With best wishes

    @Naomi33

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


  • Bettyboo22
    Bettyboo22 Member Posts: 22

    Hi @NicoS

    Please don't apologise for moaning, this forum is exactly the place where we understand... It does seem so unfair you have obviously worked very hard to lose weight and get active.

    This can be such a struggle as it does feel like you have lost everything but I hope like me you find a way of working round it and pacing yourself. I think with walking and your feet, the right footwear will help for sure and there have been some discussions on here on footwear people have found the comfiest.

    Keeping active with OA can be all sorts of things, walking, cleaning, gardening please don't lose faith you can still do these you just need to know when to rest and pace it.

    Looking after your mental is important and hope chatting on here makes you feel understood and give you the space to moan and share. I also found this useful How to look after your mental health when you have arthritis (versusarthritis.org).

    There are some great resources on VA's website, this has some info about treatment and things to try Osteoarthritis (OA) of the foot and ankle | Versus Arthritis.

    Do keep posting xxx

  • swimmer60
    swimmer60 Member Posts: 146

    @NicoS

    Hi! I really recommend swimming, hence name, so good for flexibility, fitness and joints as it is not weight bearing. I'm just over 6 weeks from HRS and seeing my consultant next Monday. Fingers crossed he'll give me the go-ahead to start swimming again.

    My daughter, via Michael Mosely "Just One Thing" suggested that Kimchi reduces inflammation, so I'm giving that a go. It's expensive, unless you make your own, but just a teaspoon a day is apparently enough.

    Finally, if you need joint replacement surgery anywhere, harrass your GP and get onto a NHS waiting list asap.

    Good luck!

  • NicoS
    NicoS Member Posts: 3
    edited 26. Nov 2023, 12:42

    Thank you everyone.

    It makes a great difference knowing there is a community out there going through the same physical and mental challenges.

    I think for me the most important thing is going to be be to get out the house as much as possible. I've ordered some expensive shoes that will hopefully get me into the kilometers. I did some barefoot walking on the beach. The cold makes my feet really sore as you can imagine, but with a warm soak afterwards they seemed less "damaged" than when I do the same distance with shoes so this is something I might explore more in summer.

    This leads me to another thing: I've learned over the last two days that warm water is a great relief for both hands and feet, especially in the middle of the night. I've never been one to feel the cold but have taken to wearing gloves all the time.

    As for swimming: I used to swim as a summer sport when I was a youngster, and a little bit of long distance in my thirties. Then my shoulders started calcifying and I gave up. It has since been sorted out (a long time ago) so getting back in the pool might be just the thing. Unfortunately, there is only one pool where I live (I'm in the Isle of Man) so as you can imagine it is very oversubscribed. Also, at £50 a month it is a reach for me (recently unemployed).

    When I eventually get to see a physio, hopefully early in the new year, I will see if she can prescribe swimming.

    Have a lovely day eveyone!

    N

  • Hello. Not got any tips as such but saying I'm with you on this. I'm 48, I was going to bootcamps regularly for years and I love running... But I developed osteoarthritis in my right hip in the spring, it was diagnosed in July and became so painful so quickly I've had to give up all my favourite activities that were keeping me sane against a backdrop of massive work pressure.

    Which is making me really low, and I don't know what to do because everything hurts!! I've got a plan to follow in the gym so I mooch around there, when I really want to be out running through autumn leaves or chucking tractor tyres about.

    So, no tips but just to say you're not alone!

  • noddingtonpete
    noddingtonpete Moderator Posts: 940

    Hello @SwishySwish and welcome to our friendly and supportive Community.

    I see it is osteoarthritis in your hip that is preventing you doing what you used to do so I've put a link in below from our website containing some exercises which might help you.

    We also have info on arthritis, treatments and hints and tips so have a look around you might find other articles that help.

    Best wishes

    Peter.

    Need more help? - call our Helpline on0800 5200 520Monday to Friday 9am to 6pm

  • jonr
    jonr Member Posts: 380

    Hello @NicoS - if you live in England you may have another pathway to treatment available which could be quicker.

  • swimmer60
    swimmer60 Member Posts: 146

    @NicoS

    I think from reading another thread that there is funding available and your GP could refer you to your local pool. As you are unemployed I would've thought you would be very eligible and really worth investigating. Don't take no for an answer!.

    Went swimming yesterday, it was fabulous! No ill effects so far, but I was very cautious.

  • ChrisG9
    ChrisG9 Member Posts: 5

    @NicoS

    Hi NicoS, sorry to read about your struggles. I'm in a similar boat. I'm 54 and since falling from my cycle earlier this year I have been diagnosed with arthritis in my hands and feet. After running for 30 years and completing numerous marathons, being told not to run again due to the condition of my feet was a big hit.

    I still have trouble walking, yet love getting out with my dog so still walk every day. I'm not sure if we are allowed to mention brand names, yet Sketchers Arch fit slip on shoes have been a god send and I live in them at the moment. As for my hands, after typing all day at work, a hot water bottle resting on my hands in the evening alleviates some discomfort.

    Hope you find some strategies to live as best you can.

    Chris