Marathon training and a big arthritis flare up.

Hodgy
Hodgy Member Posts: 37
edited 1. Feb 2019, 11:20 in Living with arthritis
Hi I am new to this group and would really appreciate any help. I am a runner who was diagnosed with arthritis in both knees in 2016 having ran The London Marathon and The Liverpool Marathon 4 weeks apart. I have recently been diagnosed with arthritis in my foot which is agony at times and my knees have now flared up big time too. I am part way through marathon training for the London marathon. But running hurts an awful lot- I cannot remember the last pain free run I had- maybe last October. I am not wanting to give up before I have exhausted every option. I was wondering if any of you could offer me any help, tips, advice anything that may have worked for you. I thank you ever so much for any help you can offer me it is very much appreciated. I have been using Flexiseq sports gel for the past 3 years.
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Comments

  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,086
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Hodgy and welcome to the forums from the moderation team.


    I am very sorry to hear about your diagnosis of osteoarthritis in your feet and knees, worsening while you are training for the London Marathon. Not many of the members have done anything as adventurous as a Marathon, but we do have a great community here, with lots of experience of arthritis. I know they will make you very welcome and help in any way they can. Until someone comes along with some advice I hope the following links will help you:

    This information by Arthritis Research UK is about osteoarthritis, (I am presuming this was the type of arthritis you were diagnosed with?), and is very comprehensive:

    https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/osteoarthritis.aspx

    Arthritis Care’s booklet on the same can be downloaded here:
    https://www.arthritiscare.org.uk/do-i-have-arthritis/publications/223-living-with-osteoarthritis

    This information is specifically about the foot and lists treatment options available

    https://www.versusarthritis.org/about-arthritis/conditions/foot-and-ankle-pain/


    I had not heard of Flexiseq sports gel before although many on here use Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory gels to massage into sore joints.


    Best of luck and do let us know how you get on.

    Ellen.
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you ever so much for replying to me and yes it is osteo arthritis. I am 45 years old, I am also a full time carer to my daughter who is a very big 20 year old with a mental age of 4. This combined with running most of my life is the probable cause of my knees going and now my foot too. I am grateful for all and any advice. Many thanks. X
  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 4,086
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    It sounds as though running is very important to you Hodgy.

    Have you ever discussed options with your GP? some on here find a steroid injection into joints helpful for instance??

    Best of luck and do let us know how you get on.

    Ellen.
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,278
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Hodgy. That's tough and I've no great words of wisdom.

    I can see how important running is to you but I have to say, one thing that far too many years of arthritis (RA and OA) has taught me is to be adaptable. I've had to give up many things but I always aim to take up something really interesting to replace whatever must go.

    Unfortunately, there are no magic treatments just combinations of physio, pills, maybe orthotic insoles - you could ask your GP to refer you to an orthotist and a physiotherapist. Best of luck with it all.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you both so much Ellen and stickywicket yes running is a major part of my life and has been for a very long time- it is my escape. I'm a carer as I said and it helps me to shut off sometimes plus I also love it very very much. My GP is waiting for me to go back to discuss the 'extensive bone degeneration shown in my X rays' So far I haven't because I can't face what he may tell me. The thing is in 2016 I was running in training qualifying times to get an elite place in the London marathon when arthritis in my right knee struck. I was told about it through X ray through my GP and carried on. I ran the London marathon 2016 and didn't get an elite time but a 'good for age time which automatically qualified me for London 2017. Then my left knee went- I crumbled and stopped running for over a year. I just started back again and decided to re apply in the ballot for London miraculously I got a place the odds were 1000's against. This is my once last chance, my dream to fulfill what was taken from me.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I have a creaky foot in both camps having an auto-immune arthritis which led, in due course, to osteoarthritis. This mis-appropriation of the word flare irks me; when my auto-immune arthritis flares it affects my whole body and being, for weeks and sometimes months at a time. My OA does not flare, it merely worsens in its various locations and does so when I have overdone things or when the weather is agin me (as it is still the moment). Once these locations are treated by rubbing on an anti-inflammatory cream, upping my pain relief and, crucially, resting, things return to their usual level of yuck. You are perpetuating your discomfort by doing what you are doing, the OA is not flaring it is simply reacting to the stress being placed upon your joints. Change and decrease the stress and things will improve.

    Any form of arthritis is progressive and degenerative, those processes vary in speed from person to person but once initiated cannot be stopped. There are ways to accelerate it too and you are on that path by doing high-impact repetitive exercise on hard surfaces, I wince on behalf of your joints. I cannot understand your desire to run a marathon (after a lifetime of compromised health running has never featured in my life) but if I link it to my going blind I can begin to grasp what this means to you. The thought of having to learn to read all over again is demoralising, the thought of only being able to hear the TV renders it pointless, only being able to feel the weather rather than see it is not wonderful BUT I could learn to read again, I've always listened to the radio and made my own pictures so could do so with the TV and would I really miss try8ng to challenge myself to do stuff on a classic British Tupperware day (i.e. grey and drippy)? No, all these would be overcome and would be to aid the quality of life.

    I have not lost goals as my arthritis has taken its toll, I've changed them and made them achievable, not just for my physical sake but my mental health too.' Yes, I miss cycling, dancing, roaming the hills but I had my days of doing them and that has to be satisfaction enough. Adapt, Believe, Compromise - that's my arthritis ABC. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you. :|
  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hello Hodgy.

    As a lifelong sports addict whose favourite activities were halted by OA I can understand your dilemma and also appreciate the importance of running in your particular circumstances. An absorbing, fulfilling diversion activity is a necessity for you and you have metaphorically hit a brick wall - hard.

    It demands courage to face reality and I do hope you soon feel able to risk hearing the diagnosis and prognosis. As a carer it must be extra difficult for you to do this as you will feel alone with the situation and all its implications. It might not be as bad as you fear but, if it is, then you will know what you are facing and can begin to explore possible alternatives. Only a medic can tell you whether continued running will cause irreparable damage or 'merely' increased pain.

    In the end it is a matter of personal choice as to which goals we select and it may be that you think achieving your 'last marathon' ambition will be worth the painful consequences. (Think of Andy Murray.) Until you have confronted the results of investigations, though, you won't be in a position to make this decision or to obtain the support of your GP.

    So grit your teeth and bear it - many of us are thinking of you.
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you so very much Crinkly for such a kind and understanding response. I am of the belief that if there is any way possible for me to train enough to get myself to the start line then I will run it purely for enjoyment not for a time. But solely for the love of it the experience to take in all of the fantastic atmosphere and to cherish and remember it for always. I will deal with the consequences and go back to my doctor after and I will make it my last marathon and try to accept whatever prognosis my doctor gives me. For now I have to try and manage the pain in order to train and try and run the big miles- that marathon training requires, this is a very big worry and is something I am struggling with.Thank you for your lovely support, I'm very grateful for it Crinkly.
  • crinkly1
    crinkly1 Member Posts: 156
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I'm coming back to you to emphasise my point that you should see your GP now and not leave it until after the marathon. There are many forms of arthritis and you need to be certain that yours is not going to be made much worse by continued training - especially if you are mainly pounding out the miles on road surfaces.

    It's good that you have compromised and decided to complete rather than compete but you'll need the advice of your GP on the best pain management for the purpose and to ask about consulting a sports physiotherapist (which you might have to fund privately in this case).

    I do hope you are able to crack on and enjoy - without risk to your longer term quality of life.
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Crinkly1. I appreciate you getting back to me I have osteo arthritis. I have already been told to stop running when my knees first went- and so I did for a year. I was advised when I went about my foot to pain manage it and get physio. That was before he saw the extent of the bone degeneration from my X ray. My doctor then rang me to tell me and said he didn't want to worry me. He immediately worried me with those words. I do pay for my own private physio as a runner and have paid for many sports massages as well as targeted physio over the years. I intend to book in for another sports massage in the next week or so. I ran today 10 miles which after about 2 miles was agony. I came home and broke down in tears- not sure why I'm telling you this. During my run I considered many many times on quitting the marathon. You see the pain is starting to make me hate the very one thing I love. I believe my GP will tell me to stop for good. I know it sounds crazy but it is not something I am prepared to hear just yet. Unfortunately it takes me time to get my head and heart around things. Double unfortunate is that I am also stubborn and determined. Thank you though you words are wise, I just need my heart to realise the same as my head.
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Have you considered wearing ankle and knee supports whilst you train? Has your gait and running style been analysed? Have you had any training in how to run efficiently and properly in an attempt to reduce the impact on your joints? I presume that you wear proper footwear with correct orthotics, it's not cheap and neither should it be - there are 64 bones in each foot and they need protection. What pain relief do you take before you exercise? There are ways to mitigate the damage but they won't stop it happening: despite the care Andy Murray has taken of his body he's facing the same dilemma as you. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi DD, Yes of course I wear compression socks and now knee supports too when I run. I also run in skins- compression tights to protect my calfs and of course proper sports wear. I have been running for my town and representing them in competition since I was 11. I have had numerous gait analysis done every change of trainer. I run in Saucony Triumph ISO 3's and 4's. I have 3 pairs of trainers on the go at all times at £125 a pair which I regularly check the tread on. As soon as the tread starts to wear on one pair they are replaced and the other 2 pairs keep me going then I gradually run in the new pair. I would never 'run on pain killers- that would be crazy. If I masked the pain I would run through it all regardless and end up with an injury or more as well as arthritis. Every run I analyse my body like an M.O.T what hurts and what doesn't. I always try to focus on what is working the best for me even when my arthritis is hurting. So even if that is just my heart and lungs- and of course my voice. As I am a cheerful person and although it hurts I always make an effort to say hello to everyone i I pass, neighbours, dog walkers and just general public. I have seen the Andy Murray interview and like him I won't give in until my heart accepts that, the day has finally come. I'm not there quite yet- but I know I'm close that's why I joined this group! Desperate to see if anyone could help me. As surely I can't be the only person to have ever trained for a marathon with osteo arthritis!
  • viewmaster
    viewmaster Member Posts: 31
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hodgy, although I have never been an athlete I was always very active & had a great out door life & job.
    Until I was diagnosed with ostoarthritis, like you I tried for some years to find alternative treatments & cures, but in the end via my GP got refered to a specialist.
    Your GP can only advise you do much & then you need to get a referal to a joint specialist who can properly diagnose what is best for you.
    We are all different & although can all suffer with this appalling disease our conditions can be slightly different.
    Keeping active is key but within boundaries which need to be Set for you.


    Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you view master, I appreciate your reply and I totally agree to run in moderation ie. shorter distances just on days when I feel I can sounds wonderful. Unfortunately training for a marathon demands so much more than that. I am torn completely at the moment. Thank you for your help.
  • frogmorton
    frogmorton Member Posts: 26,763
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Hodgy

    I know you will do this marathon because you almost 'have' to, but afterwards maybe there are other options?

    My own sister loved running so much that she was having steroid injections into her ankles (her ankles were first to give up) and still running. She got a sort of high out of running and loved it. I know running the London marathon would have meant so much to her.

    Anyway to cut a long story short she was forced to curtail her running in the end and now she rides her bike(s). She is just as obsessed about cycling and still gets the 'rush' she did from running without the pain. She has a road bike and a mountain bike and also her latest addition a 3 wheeled ex-postie one :)

    She also walks daily so, like you, she can chat and say hello and smile to people as she goes.

    Sending you some ((()))

    Toni x
    Love

    Toni xxx
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Toni that is lovely and so positive for me to read this. If I can run the London marathon I am more than prepared to just plod along and run on days when I can just little runs and go walking with friends. I also enjoy cycling too although I only have a ladies basic mountain bike. I think your sister is an inspiration that there is life in sport with arthritis. Thank you so much for giving me hope. Sending you a big hug too as I'm very grateful to you as now I am sitting here typing with a smile on my face for a change :D
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,558
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I was thinking overnight that cycling could be an answer for you in finding another way to lose yourself. I loved it, especially in London (the challenge of Hyde Park Corner out of rush-hour was especially exciting!). That and swimming are excellent low-impact forms of exercise. DD
    Have you got the despatches? No, I always walk like this. Eddie Braben
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks DD that's really kind of you. I am definitely interested on getting back out on my bike more- especially in the summer months, thank you :D
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,278
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Cycling and swimming are definitely recommended. I know some keen cyclists invest in an exercise bike for the winter months but that sort of thing might be more fun in a gym with a screen which shows you cycling down leafy lanes :D
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thank you Sticky wicket. I'm trying rest for a few days now and hope to try and run at the weekend see how I get on. See how the pain is and how much I can tolerate will depend on the mileage.If I cannot do it then I will need to make a decision as to whether or not I keep trying to marathon train or give up the marathon completely. Obviously I'm hoping for the best but I am also frightened that I may realise the very worst once and for all. Thank you for all of your wonderful support. I really do appreciate it :D
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,278
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I know this is a huge thing for you and you have my very best wishes and hopes.

    I'd just like to add, though, that, in my all too vast experience of arthritis, I have realised that the key is to be adaptable, to be as flexible in the mind as we are inflexible in the body.

    When RA hit me, at 15, in my hands, I had soon to give up playing the piano, which was my 'thing' even though it was to a very low standard. I took up other things instead and, later, did an OU module on composition.

    What I'm saying is, you must have you 'bolt hole' and, even if it can't be marathon running, with effort and determination (which you must have in spades) you will find something else to love just as much.
    "The deeper sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain." Kahlil Gibran
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    That's a really lovely reply Sticky wicket- thank you :D I'm going to give it my very best effort but if I realise I just can't do it because of the pain then I will call it a day with regards to the marathon and hope that I can just plod along and run on my good days. I talked to my husband last night about getting a better bike for me so we can enjoy more cycle rides together- and he thought it was a great idea. Roll on the warmer weather hey! Thank you for all of your kind wishes, I will let you know it goes with the training if you like. tcold X
  • Airwave!
    Airwave! Member Posts: 2,427
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Oooeerrr this is a topic I could get stuck into, roll the clock back 30+ years and that was me, spraying my knees with deep heat just to get through the next run, lots of paracetomol and hot baths later, one day I woke ip and realised what a ridiculous thing I was doing to get that burst of endorphins, I stopped there and then, I didn't die, I didn't stop to exsist or anything nasty, I went off and did othrr things, without so much pain and long recovery times.

    Time to square up and realise that arther didn't 'just happen' hes been around for a while and is not going away, so what'll you going to do? Stay in pain or alter your life? Running as z weight bearing exercise is probably over.

    I think this is referred to as 'boom and bust' these days.
  • Hodgy
    Hodgy Member Posts: 37
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Thanks Airwave. So what I am going to do is this 'One last shot'. Never, ever have I, or would I run on paracetamol and deep heat. Hot baths after a long - oh yes, total heaven. I am going to give this marathon attempt everything I have and then yes no more marathons. Just run/ plod on days when I can and enjoy some walking and cycling too hopefully. Thanks for your advice maybe from one runner to another you may be able to understand what The London Marathon means to me. P.S I run on jelly babies not really a pain relief but the sugar content keeps my energy levels up!