Saturday, July 27, 2013

"IT" Is Osteoarthritis

My grandmother and her sisters had it, my mother has it and now, I have it.   "IT" is Osteoarthritis...a common joint degenerative disease that has been handed down to the women and to a lesser extent, also to the men from my mother's side of the family.   It's not as if I have not been forewarned.  I've had occasional knee aches and pains for the last 25 years which had not really gotten worse until maybe 5 years ago, but even then, the pain would be bearable and go away in a day or two.  Then a month ago I attended this seminar in MetroManila where from the airport I got caught in traffic for almost four hours.  Added to that, I was sitting for long hours during the next three days.  Limited mobility, overweight, no exercise and a history of crackling knees is a recipe for disaster...well, okay so I am exaggerating a bit, but hey, I am just a few more years short of retirement age and painful joints run in the family.   I knew it was something that I should no longer ignore; nor pretend that "IT" was not happening.  It was definitely time for some serious lifestyle changes.

Start Exercising

It's been more than a month and I still experience some pain and discomfort in my right knee and thigh especially when driving and going down the stairs.  I used to exercise daily but that was 20 years ago and frankly it is really difficult to begin again.  The first thing to do is to strengthen my weak Quadriceps, Hamstrings and Gluteal muscles.  These group of muscles should be kept strong since they play an important role in supporting the knee and reduce the amount of weight going through the knee bones, joints and muscles.  So I found some simple exercises at Knee-Pain-Explained.Com which I hope can help me transition to more challenging ones. I have started to do the following and they are quite easy to do.  Best of all, they have helped relieve the pain and I can do them anytime, even in the office.
 1) Quad Clenches
Purpose: Maintain and strengthen the Quads without moving the knee, enable full straightening of the knee

Starting position: Lying flat on your back or sitting up. Leg and knee straight

Action: Tighten the muscle on the front of the thigh by pushing your knee down. You should feel your thigh muscles clench. Pull your toes up as you do your exercise will make the quads work a little harder. Hold for 3 secs

Repetition: Repeat 10-20x every 3-4 hours

Variations: If you are struggling to get your knee to straighten fully, place a rolled up towel underneath the ankle so that your leg is lifted slightly on the bed. Then do the exercise as described. Lifting the leg up slightly lets gravity help the knee to straighten

2) Long Arcs

Purpose: Strengthen quads, increase knee movement, great to do if sitting for long periods (30mins+)- stops the knee getting stiff

Starting position: Sitting on a firm chair with your knee bent and your foot on the floor

Action: Lift your foot up and straighten your knee as much as possible. Hold for 3-5 secs and slowly lower. Then bend your knee back as far as you can

Repetition: 5-20 times, 3x daily

Progression: 1) Strengthen further by adding a weight either by wearing a shoe or ankle weights
2) To increase knee flexion further, when you’ve slid your foot back as far as you can, gently slide your bottom forwards in the chair whilst keeping your foot still

3.) Knee Marching

Purpose: A great knee pain exercise to increase Quads strength without putting weight through the knee joint

Starting Position: Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor

Action: March your legs up and down one at a time. Lift your knee and foot up and then back down

Repetition: Repeat for about 1 minute, 2x daily and any time you are sitting for more than 20 minutes to stop your knee getting stiff

Progression: Add a weight eg by wearing shoes or using ankle weights

4.) Kick Backs

Purpose: Improve the strength of hamstrings and mobility of the knee

Starting Position: Stand up straight holding on to something stable eg chair or table

Action: Lift your foot up as far as you can towards your bottom, bending the knee. Hold for 3-5 secs

Repetition: Repeat 5-25 times, 2x daily

Progression: Add a weight eg shoe or ankle weight

Note: 1) Don’t bend forwards - keep your body upright 2) keep your knees in line with each other- don’t let your thigh come forwards

5.) Heel Raises

Purpose: Strengthen the calf muscles to help support the knee. Co-ordinate knee and ankle movement

Starting position: Stand with your feet slightly apart, weight equally distributed, holding onto something solid for balance eg kitchen work surface or wall.

Action: Rise up onto your toes lifting your heels as high as possible. Keep your body upright (don’t bend forwards). Hold for 3-5 secs and slowly lower

Repetition: Repeat 10-30 times, 2x daily

6.) Sit to Stand

Purpose: One of my favourite knee pain exercises as it improves knee mobility, strengthens both quads and glutes and improves general fitness

Starting position: Sit in a firm chair, feet on the floor

Action: Lean forwards, lift your bottom, stand up straight and then sit back down

Repetition: Repeat 10-30x

Adaptations: To make the exercise easier: 1) Push up through you arms 2) Use a higher chair.
To make the exercise harder:
1) Increase you speed 2) Use a lower chair 3) Hold a weight

Lose Weight

As I grew older, my metabolism has considerably slowed down.  While before it was so easy to lose 10 kilos in 2 months, now-a-days it takes forever.  But I do need to lose weight, and my plan is aimed at changing my eating pattern.  I tend to eat only three meals a day - a big breakfast, a small lunch and a heavy dinner.  I don't get hungry in between these main meals, so I don't snack, but I realize that just because I do not eat a lot everyday does not mean I do not gain weight.  My very sedentary lifestyle the past few years and bad choices of food have made me heavier than I was twenty years ago. I have started to practice portion control and to eat small and healthier meals more often during the day.  No more big breakfasts and heavy dinners.  My target is to lose at least 10 kilos by December with a weekly goal of losing half a kilo a week.

Goodbye Stilettos


Goodbye to three inches or more high heels...Hello to wedgies but not more than 2 inches.  I have always been a sucker for high heels.  Even during residency, I would run around the wards in 3 to 4 inches pumps.  Those days are long gone and today, I only wear low heels and wedgies. But, I draw the line at flat shoes...maybe one day but not quite yet (^-^)



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26 comments:

  1. I agree healthy lifestyle, proper exercise, and discipline are essential in preventing osteoporosis. great share!

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  2. Whew! I admit it I am not into exercising though it seems I have to start it now. I am actually experiencing some knee and back pains occasionally and I'm afraid I might be having some problems with my bones too. Thanks for the tips!

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  3. The site you mentioned here seems to help you a lot in terms of finding the right exercises. I must say I am lucky because "IT" doesn't run in my family. Godbless po!

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  4. Now, I am afraid I also have Osteoathritis, as my paternal grandparents had some history. sometimes I got discomfort on knee joints whenever I walk for 2-3 kilometers.

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  5. hi i hope you are doing okay now. just drink your meds and follow what your doctor says.

    leira from fbW

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  6. It is important to strengthen the knee for cases like this. There's a TRX workout that can specify an area to strengthen to exercise.

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  7. I hope you get better soon.. nice share I have some problem with this too.. never too young to feel anything.. sigh!

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  8. Oh I should be looking into this myself. Very guilty about not exercising.

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  9. This reminds me to do my zumba again coz I feel I'm gaining wait, too much procrastination. Thanks for these information sis.

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  10. I am not getting any younger anymore, so exercise is the best way to get fit.I hope you get better soon. I might have osteo problem too, coz i always feel the pain when I walk after sitting for a long time.

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  11. I don't know if my mom has this osteoarthritis but I'm hoping wala siyang ganitong problem maybe I should ask her later. :))

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  12. I'm sure you'll be on your old self again in no time. Just listen and follow your doctor.

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  13. Thanks for not keeping this to yourself! I will ask my tita to do this often kasi may mga reklamo din siya sa kanyang back pains :p

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  14. I think the saddest part in here is the "Goodbye Stilettos" part. hahaha as for me it's really hard to say goodbye to high heels.

    P.S. I wish you well =) ♥♥♥

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  15. get well soon dear! i have this feeling of weak knees as well which i am trying to work out since last month trying to get fit again!

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  16. Great exercises to share. I agree with all of the stuff you listed above. The "lose weight" part is a must not only to look good but to become healthier as we grow older. Thanks for your post!

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  17. You have here very helpful tips. Got to share this one to my sister who I think is suffering from Osteoathritis. Sis, praying that good health comes your way.

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  18. Hope you feel better now. I guess exercise is really a must for everyone! It's a fuel to our joints especially when growing older.

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  19. I'm glad this doesn't run in our family. But yeah, healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and regular exercise should always be taken into consideration with or without "IT"

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  20. I didnt know that Osteoarthritis can be hereditary..
    Well I cant sinceIhave no idea if its medical..
    Looking back at my own family, I have to say that most of my elders do not suffer from it until they are way past beyond retirement..
    We have a more scarrier affliction though, that is cancer and HB pressure.
    Osteoarthritis that way I understand it can be painful, and its the kind of pain that has to be endured.
    I'm young so I guess I can follow these steps you've listed here

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  21. Sit to Stand is almost the same as squat :)

    how about lunges? is it a good knee exercise?

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  22. nice workout... do some streching during rainy season

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  23. Great workout program. Hope youre feeling better na after doing the exercise. I only live on youtube videos now to trim weight. :)

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  24. Regular exercises such as light aerobics and yoga can help improve the motion of sufferers of osteoarthritis. I hope I won't pick up the condition.

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  25. i did undergo a knee operation ay back 2003. this article is really a big help. this reminds me not to use stilettos often...haist.

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  26. It would be good to do this exercise to strengthen the bones against Osteoarthritis.

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