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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,509

    Osteoarthritis in Younger Active Folks

    Looking for tips on how to manage Osteoarthritis without just throwing in the towel on being an athlete.

    I am 34, played highlevel baseball and high school football, and have been skiing and mountain biking for a couple decades (with all the normal crashes and injuries). I have always had loose shoulder joints but after my ball-sports career ended i decided to get my labrum and shoulder capsule repaired in my throwing shoulder. I then slipped in the shower 1 week after surgery and the shoulder did not heal well at all. Fast forward 15 years and way too many subluxations and separations and my right (throwing) shoulder is fucked. Back in the spring i was shut down for a month with awful pain and near zero mobility so i went in to the best shoulder ortho in the Seattle area to put together a plan to manage/fix/mitigate the shoulder issues in preparation for when my 1 yr old can start playing ball sports. I was told that my labrum is torn nearly circumferentially, theres a deflated cyst in there, and i have advanced osteoarthritis with a big-ass goatsbeard bone spur. The ortho said that he would HIGHLY recommend not getting surgery as fixing the soft tissues would tighten the shoulder up (good), but create a worse situation with the arthritis- which is the long term bigger issue here. Scary when a gung-ho ortho says your too far gone for surgery.

    currently ill have 3-4months pain free, able to lift weights, be athletic, etc. And then out of the blue mowing the lawn, or brushing my teeth ill feel something catch in my shoulder (no pain), and ill then be in for a couple weeks at least of 5-7/10 pain and almost zero mobility, and 4-6weeks till im back to normal. I stay on top of rotator cuff exercises, have good posture, have good scapular mobility and a strong upper/mid back etc but shit just hits the fan sometimes doing innocuous things. I dont like taking NSAIDs during these arthritic episodes as i have read that they inhibit healing, and CBD does absolutely nothing for me in any form so im stuck smoking week and taking tylenol to manage pain.

    For any folks out there who are younger or highly active, what are you doing to manage your osteoarthritis?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    slc
    Posts
    16,214
    AC "managed" her Stage 4 OA with a total knee replacement at 39. I don't know shit about shit but I'd say you're probably looking at a shoulder replacement in the not-too-distant future, unfortunately. Good luck, sounds like a very shitty situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Not Brooklyn
    Posts
    8,009
    I have arthritis in my foot, hands and lower back from a series of wrestling and football injuries. I'm 45. It all started getting worse in my mid 30's, years after the worst injuries originally occurred. My back, especially, could be debilitating at times. It's much better now. The trick for me has been refocusing my exercise around keeping my body feeling good, instead of training to be stronger/ faster. I'm no less fit than I was 10 years ago because I aggravate the old injuries so much less. I've done a ton of work with multiple physical therapists. Most of them were helpful. A few were pretty clueless. But even with the good ones, not all their suggestions are going to be good for you. I learned to listen to my body and selectively adopt and ignore their suggestions after trying them out. It took about 5 years of trial and error to figure what helps, what doesn't, what to avoid entirely, and eventually develop a general approach to keeping my body functioning.

    This might seem sort of like a non-answer, but it's what you need to do. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping a fucked up, aging body working fairly well.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    2,509
    Quote Originally Posted by I've seen black diamonds! View Post
    I have arthritis in my foot, hands and lower back from a series of wrestling and football injuries. I'm 45. It all started getting worse in my mid 30's, years after the worst injuries originally occurred. My back, especially, could be debilitating at times. It's much better now. The trick for me has been refocusing my exercise around keeping my body feeling good, instead of training to be stronger/ faster. I'm no less fit than I was 10 years ago because I aggravate the old injuries so much less. I've done a ton of work with multiple physical therapists. Most of them were helpful. A few were pretty clueless. But even with the good ones, not all their suggestions are going to be good for you. I learned to listen to my body and selectively adopt and ignore their suggestions after trying them out. It took about 5 years of trial and error to figure what helps, what doesn't, what to avoid entirely, and eventually develop a general approach to keeping my body functioning.

    This might seem sort of like a non-answer, but it's what you need to do. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to keeping a fucked up, aging body working fairly well.
    No, it is helpful. It is confirming my decision to nearly completely move away from aesthetic/strength goals in the gym, and refocus on quality of movement. The chore now, like you said, is to figure out exactly what helps, what hurts, and what does jack shit. But, damn these flareups of arthritis are debilitating and fuck with my mental health too. And NO ONE believes a 34yr old who complains or begs out of some activity because of "arthritis".

    Are there any meds that people use, which they would reccomend? I want to stay away from drugs that will harm healing (cortisone, NSAIDs, Toradol, etc), but i also dont want to be sweating and swearing because of pain in the morning during these flareups.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    71
    I wonder if your pain flare-ups are due to muscle spasm, in which case Robaxin (methocarbamol) may be worth trying - it was certainly useful as part of a multi-modal pain treatment post-op. Here it’s prescription only but in Canada I believe you can buy it OTC in combination with Tylenol (it’s called Robaxacet).
    It may also be worthwhile seeing a different ortho who might recommend surgery to debride the joint (take out the bone spur for example) as a temporizing measure (Drs Basamania or Dick Kirby come to mind). Another option might be seeing Dr Brian Snitily, who’s a physiatrist (he works with an ortho group but is not a surgeon), and has helped me with a frozen shoulder and FAI in my hip without surgical intervention.
    Good luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    2,693
    I'm 42, just diagnosed with OA in my patellofemoral joint. I've been working with PTs for a while - that has helped.

    Looking into platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. Also considering hyaluronic acid (HA) injections. Or both. Eventually, will have to do knee replacement.

    The goal of PRP is to stimulate re-growth of articular cartilage. It is very difficult to stimulate regrowth of AC, but PRP has had some good success.

    Unfortunately, no insight into shoulder issues, but I'll post up if I learn anything useful for fellow yutes afflicted with OA.
    sproing!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2022
    Posts
    6
    im 32 yo and walking every day 10 km

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