Old Knee, New Knee

So, here's the deal.  On the 4th of July I ran, well, walked, jogged and ran, a 10K race with my 20 year old daughter.  We had a fantastic time.  It was a really great way to celebrate Independence Day.  I consider myself to be in reasonable condition and train regularly.  Regardless of my condition, the evening after the race, my knee was in pain. 

Let me digress for a moment.  During my teens and twenties I ran all the time.  Running is a fantastic way to stay in shape for skiing, de-stress, and think through all of the social and emotional issue we come across on a daily basis.  This continued until I was about 30, at which point my body headed in a little different direction for a few years. 

Sometime around 40 I started running again.  It felt wonderful.  The issue was, after 2-3 months of running my knee or leg would begin to hurt.  It may of had something to do with the fact that I was 30 pounds over weight and out of shape; however,  I continued on.  Over the next seven to eight years I started and stopped running quite a few times, each time being limited by a sore knee.   I found that exercising on an elliptical machine or bike riding worked really well because they are both non-impact.

About a year ago I visited my doctor and talked through the situation.  He said that I most likely have an over use injury from the wear and tear on my joint.  He advised me to continue on the non-impact exercises and my knee should tolerate it much better.  After much research, I have a sneaking suspicion that my knee may be in the beginnings of osteoarthritis, which happens from the wear and tear on jonts, as apposed to rheumatoid arthritis which is an auto-immune disease.

So, I started myself on a regimen of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that my doctor had given me on my last visit and also a scheduled dose of acetaminophen.  This combination works well at bringing down the inflammation while also reducing the pain quite well. 

I also started a regimen of topical capsaicin and trolamine.  These are two topical analgesics that work well at decreasing the pain at the joint.  These are both available in a gel, cream or topical solution and come under many different trade names at your local pharmacy.  Ask your pharmacist and they will help you find which product will work best for your situation.

Please follow this link to my blog on medication options for either Bone & Joint Pain or Spine Pain.

Here I am, a full two weeks after the 10K race, and my knee is feeling at least 80% better and healing quickly.  After two weeks at this regimen, if I was not feeling this much better, I would definitely be making an appointment to see my doctor for follow-up. 

At almost 49 years old my knees are not what they use to be; however, if I follow a few simple steps, I know I will be able to extend their life another 40 years.  Losing 10-15% of my body weight can make a tremendous difference in the impact my knees need to absorb.  Each step we take, our knees absorb 1.5X our body weight, and when we jog, that number can be seven to eight times our body weight! 

Also, it is super important to increase the strength of our quadriceps and other load bearing leg muscles so that we may protect our knees.  It is said that the degree of pain is directly proportional to the level of muscle weakness.  So, onward I go with my squats, lunges and wall sits. 

Please feel free to comment and share your "joint pain" story.


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