Author Topic: Sodding arthritis  (Read 35799 times)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Sodding arthritis
« on: March 31, 2008, 07:37:55 pm »
I put a thread up in t'other place about this some time ago. I'm not doing this because I want sympathy, although of course I never turn any down, but because arthritis makes life interesting.

For almost two years I have been virtually symptom-free. Prior to that, for a six-month period from autumn 2005 to spring 2006, arthritis would attack unpredictably but most often in my hands and wrists. Some days, my hands were like inflated rubber gloves and I could not bend my fingers because of the swelling and the pain. Then, after the specialist prescribed hydroxychloroquin, things improved enormously. I have had the odd day, but mostly I've been pain free.

This last month or so has seen a return of some of the symptoms, but not as previously. My hands and wrists have been in some mild pain, but mostly it has been my knees, feet and ankles, especially my left foot. If I sit still for any length of time, I seize up, and it takes a while for things to get going again.

Having swollen, painful hands completely prevents cycling. If you can't squeeze the brake lever, that's that, really. However, sitting on a bike and pedalling puts a lot less strain on the knees than does walking, in which the entire body weight is supported by each leg in turn. I just don't know how far I would be able to cycle under those circumstances.

An upright riding position is definitely advantageous from the wrists' point of view, so I prefer the Thorn to the Mercian at that point. There is also the issue of looking over the shoulder, and that can be affected by arthritis.

This morning, the biggest problem was unclipping. Twisting my ankle joint was really quite painful, so much so that I was seriously considering ditching the clipless pedals and going back to rat-traps. Then, this afternoon, the symptoms had subsided considerably and everything was OK again.

In spite of what I have posted about time limits, I still want to do the odd audax. But what distance should I choose? I just don't know how far I can go when the arthritis strikes. I DNSed the Stevenage ride on Sunday because I have had a rotten cold, but doing a 200k linear route with no clear bail-out option is much more daunting than, say, a figure-of-8 in which the half-way point is also the arrivée.

As I say, it makes life interesting.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Eccentrica Gallumbits

  • Rock 'n' roll and brew, rock 'n' roll and brew...
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2008, 08:19:30 pm »
I wonder if there's any way to adapt the brakes so that you can use them without making your hands worse. I wonder if Remap could help?
My feminist marxist dialectic brings all the boys to the yard.


bobmick

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2008, 08:33:57 pm »
You might not want sympathy but I can sympathise with your predicament.  For years my hands and wrists have suffered when its very cold and damp.  I've never bothered to get it checked out (far too lazy for that) but perhaps I should.  I'm only 40 and so I guess it isn't arthritis but the symptoms are very similar.  I recall one day when I simply could not get the fingers on my right hand to bend so that it would let go of the handlebars.  I had to come to a stop and 'peel' them back with my left hand!

I suppose all you can do is choose your rides carefully and not get too downhearted when you can't ride.  Judging by your Bikejournal miles you don't seem to be doing too bad anyway  ;)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2008, 08:43:17 pm »
There are lots of different sorts of arthritis and although the most common sort, osteoarthritis, is merely a gradual process of joints wearing out through age, rheumatoid arthritis can strike at any age, although the most common group of sufferers are women in their 50s. There is juvenile arthritis, which obviously affects kids. Mine was diagnosed as "palindromic" arthritis by the specialist, and I think it's quite rare. It's called palindromic because it comes and goes. I wonder whether stress is a contributory factor, because when mine started my mother had recently died and one of my sisters was giving me a whole load of grief about her legacy (I was mum's executor) and looking after my dad, which I was doing. It was a very tough time.

Apart from osteoarthritis, I think that the other sorts are considered to be auto-immune diseases. Certainly in RA, the immune system attacks the cartilage with serious consequences. I am no longer allowed to give blood because in a significant number of cases, PA turns into RA.

If you have any doubts, get it seen to.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2008, 11:03:43 am »
osteoarthritis, is merely a gradual process of joints wearing out through age

Or mechanical damage/malformed joints. It's a bl**dy pain.

Wow, I sympathise with your predicament. My dear lady has one of the AI forms of arthritis, and it is horrible seeing her gradually lose mobility and strength. We have dreamed of going ocean sailing when the kids have left home. At her current rate of deterioration, I think it will never happen, she will be unable to drive a car let alone handle a yacht. I try not to think about it.

Regarding braking, have you investigated other types of brakes? I know they aren't looked on with much favour by road cyclists, but I think highly of roller brakes for riding at sensible speeds. They require very very little force on the brake levers. SA drum brakes were also good.

Your Rolhoff hub - is it a model that can take a disk brake? The better disk brakes also don't require much force.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Tiger

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2008, 06:44:19 pm »
Likewise a sufferer - in the back.  Hence my own move to the darkside. There is no weight at all on hands or legs on a recumbent and this - with hydraulics - might help.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2008, 09:51:19 am »
I've just brought my appointment forward 2 months. I last saw them in Feb and had been signed off for a year.

Appointment now on 17th April.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2008, 12:33:20 am »
Walking was a real problem this morning. Both knees and ankles were in a bad way and my hands and wrists were not good either.

A miraculous transformation this afternoon as all the pain and stiffness went. If it was the anti-inflammatories (diclofenac) then they were much more effective than the last time I took them, about 2 years ago. It was almost as though a magic wand had been waved.

Hopefully I'll be OK when we are off on our Hampshire jaunt tomorrow.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Pete

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #8 on: April 06, 2008, 12:41:46 am »
Sorry to hear about your troubles Peter - familiar ground to me though in my case it's sciatica - I think ... !

For gawd's sake, if flat pedals/toeclips help, go for them! I know I'm marked down as an anti-clipless person here and I don't deny it: I'll never change to clipless - but honestly, no sense in making a martyr of yourself on the altar of more efficient pedalling...

Anyway, whatever pedals you adopt, hope the ride goes better for you!

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #9 on: April 06, 2008, 12:43:53 am »
I would also suggest looking at hydraulic/disc brakes. I can apply reasonable braking force with just my little finger on my juicy 5's. Is it also worth considering a recumbent? Then you are not putting weight on hands/wrists.

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #10 on: April 06, 2008, 12:47:57 am »
Did I read somewhere that cannabis helped a lot of sufferers?

(I seem to remember a sweet old lady who grew weed in her loft then "medicated" a load of chicken, mushroom and 'erb pies then invited her friends round for lunch.)
Stropping rocks

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #11 on: April 07, 2008, 02:33:31 pm »
Cannabis for muscular spasms/nerve transmission probs. I don't think it will help with arthritis at all (I have a paraplegic friend who uses it to control spasms in her legs).

diclofenac is mega strong. If that doesn't kick the pain into touch, then I don't know what will.

Wow, I think it is also the weather - my hip is playing up, it's bl**dy painful just to walk fast today.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

mike morley

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #12 on: April 07, 2008, 03:22:31 pm »
Hi all,
I could not help noticing the reference to arthritis. I am a fellow sufferer and sympathise. My osteoarthritis matured some years after I was knowcked of my bike and nearly killed in 1996. Its mainly my right ankle which was permanently damaged and gets worse with time despite an operation in 2003 which did not help. I also get it in my fingers which I agree does not help braking. The discs on my MTB are the best. I fell off my bike in the ice before xmas, hurt my back and have been seeing a physio. This morning she recommended ginger as a possible help with arthritis, I will start strait away. Does anyone have any experience of this.
I can confirm diclofenac is dynamite. My son who is a former Nat. Champ at MTB suffers from a Socratic joint problem and the only thing that really hepls is diclofenac. Other anti inflamatory tablets do not seem to help. The only problem is that long term they may be harmful but he finds you have to take them constantly to get benefit and not some days on and off etc.
In regard to other forms of arthritis my middle daughter was diagnosed with Juvenile arthritis at the age of 13. That was very painful and stopped her swimming and marshall arts. She was given the wrong treatment for the wrong diagnosis untill she went to see Dr, Woo at Northwick Park, where she was diagnosed as having Scloratic arthritis which is present in only a small percentage of children with a certain blood group ( if I remmember B35). It can eminate from a family member in the bloodline who has Sclorisis. She was given anti inflamatory drugs and around 18yrs it went into remmission as predicted but can come back. She still suffers from time to time. My inderstanding is that the centre of excellence for arthritis sufferers is now Middlesex hospital in London.
P.S. to Wowbagger. Are you now YACF or ACF also. I am confused about what is happening?
Regards to all. Mike M  :thumbsup:

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2008, 04:00:07 pm »
As far as I can tell "arthritis" is primarily a catch-all term for joint inflammation/pain/swollen nonsense horrible stuff. 

Both my brother and I (>50s) suffer from something called psoriatic arthritis, him much worse than me, tho' nobody seems to know whether the psoriasis or the arthritis comes first!

In my case I was diagnosed nearly 15 years ago when I suddenly couldn't walk anywhere without pain, actually I couldn't even sit down without pain in ankles & feet.  But oddly there were no bio-chemical indicators.

Which was when I took up audaxing - I could ride OK, just couldn't get off the bike and walk, which made controls a bit of a trial actually  ;D

I was getting gradually a bit better, but the breakthrough for me was doing a load of core stability exercises (pilates-type stuff, before pilates was trendy) - seems like they just got my body back into a physical balance and the symptoms just faded away.  I'm still not fantastic but so much better than before.

No idea whether this would work for you, but investment in a swiss ball and some core stability exercises is worth thinking about.

But, all round huge sympathy for you, arthritic conditions are just awful.
"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2008, 01:38:56 pm »
Last week I had an appointment with the rheumatoligist. She gave me two options: carry on as we are doing in the hope that the symptoms will subside again, or have a steroid injection in the bum with a view to changing my medication later. I didn't fancy steroids and will avoid them as long as possible, but the past month has given me more frequent and more painful symptoms. Today they are quite bad: both hands and wrists in pain, both knees, both ankles and both feet.

Has anyone had a steroid injection for arthritis and what, if any, were the side effects? I have heard of people having localised steroid injections for specific joints, but not a general one.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

onb

  • Between jobs at present
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2008, 01:43:24 pm »
Wowser Mark Porter had a very interesting programme about arthritis on r4 yesterday.You make well get it on listen again.
.

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2008, 01:46:48 pm »
mum did, it made a big difference to hers although she did put weight on.  She's got osteo - and reuma - and is about six months away from her fourth hip replacement.   

annie

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2008, 02:47:54 pm »
Wow, I am not sure what they mean by 'a general one'.  I have had steroid injections into the bottom of my feet (don't ask), wrists, elbows, hips and shoulder to name but a few.  The effects lasted between 2-5 weeks.  Would I ever have it done again, absolutely not.

I think you should ask the Rheumatologist for further information.


Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2008, 08:41:10 pm »
I had a steroid injection into my shoulder, gave me a warm feeling for while but made made no long term discernible difference to my problem.

Not an arthritic condiion btw. , just IMHO my GP couldn't think of anything else to do so a steroid injection was an easy option

"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2008, 10:32:18 pm »
Very weird this afternoon.

Not good this morning. Had a bike ride which was OK but walking the dog was very slow.

Then around 2 p.m. it was almost as though someone flicked a switch and over a period of less than half an hour almost all the pain had gone. I still had some in my wrists but even they have freed up fairly well.

Not feeling too bad at the moment, but it makes me worry that it's rheumatoid. My understanding is that RA tends to be at its worst in the morning and I suppose that is because the immune system attacks the cartilage most effectively when the patient is asleep. It's these attacks which lead to permanent joint damage.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #20 on: April 24, 2008, 10:48:23 pm »
So the good news is that you have had a good day (or afternoon); the bad news is that you don't know why..
and becos you don't know why you have no mechanism to replicate that feeling.

it's a b.st.rd, been there and it's horrid

But I don't believe RA behaves like that - it's just easier in the afternoon, not symptom-free.  However there should be chemical indicators showing if you've got RA - have you had blodd tests and stuff?  what do they say?

(sorry, this is all very invasive, tell us to mind our own business if you want!)

and there's always Lyme disease to consider, if you really want to let your imagination run riot1
"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #21 on: April 24, 2008, 10:50:22 pm »
My blood test, taken a fortnight ago tomorrow, was OK.

I have never been bitten by a tick as far as I know.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #22 on: April 24, 2008, 10:59:10 pm »
So 6th April you reported a similar symptoms to today - pain in the morning, much better later - any commonality?

"What a long, strange trip it's been", Truckin'

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #23 on: April 24, 2008, 11:01:47 pm »
So 6th April you reported a similar symptoms to today - pain in the morning, much better later - any commonality?

Blimey! I'd forgotten that. I'll have a think...
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

TheLurker

  • Goes well with magnolia.
Re: Sodding arthritis
« Reply #24 on: April 25, 2008, 08:35:34 am »
For years my hands and wrists have suffered when its very cold and damp. 
<snip>
I recall one day when I simply could not get the fingers on my right hand to bend so that it would let go of the handlebars.  I had to come to a stop and 'peel' them back with my left hand!
<snip>

If this only strikes in the cold and if your fingers look cold / blue / white you might want to consider Reynaud's as a possibility rather than arthritis.  TOH suffers with Reynaud's and the 'locked up' grip problem.
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