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  1. #1
    scofflaw
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    Arthritis?bike?You?Distance

    When I was 36 I was CONFIRMED with osteoarthritis in both knees. Right knee mild, left knee bad.
    I'm 48 now (all right, all right I know technicallly I don't qualify for the 50+ forum) and I am training for the STP in July. (Seattle-Portland) Would love to here from any members about what advice you
    would give me. It's a little over two hundred miles and I plan on cycling the largest amount of miles the first day. I am truly without a clue as some days I can bike 100 miles no problem and other days
    3 miles are too much. Have any of you ever done something similiar to this? I plan on doing this in
    two days. I'd love to hear from all distance cyclicts and their coping strategies.

  2. #2
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    I know where your coming from ,mate. I just had both knees
    replaced due to osteoarthritis that had destroyed my knees
    completely.

    I believe that you've answered your own question if you read it.
    Go as far as you can then rest. There is no shame or gain to
    do otherwise,mate. You can only do what your body feels up
    THAT day. I managed my OA this way for years.

    All the best to you.

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marge
    When I was 36 I was CONFIRMED with osteoarthritis in both knees. Right knee mild, left knee bad.
    I'm 48 now (all right, all right I know technicallly I don't qualify for the 50+ forum) and I am training for the STP in July. (Seattle-Portland) Would love to here from any members about what advice you
    would give me. It's a little over two hundred miles and I plan on cycling the largest amount of miles the first day. I am truly without a clue as some days I can bike 100 miles no problem and other days
    3 miles are too much. Have any of you ever done something similiar to this? I plan on doing this in
    two days. I'd love to hear from all distance cyclicts and their coping strategies.

    Can't tell you about osteoarthritis, thank goodness. but long distance rides will require a bit of body building to start with. That slim svelt stomach that you have been training for many years will have to take a bit of straining. By this I mean the diet before the Ride. Load up on carbo-hydrates for 2 weeks before the ride. Plenty of pasta, rice, bread and potatoes, Luckily for me, Biscuits and cakes and pasties and pies, fall into this category too, so this is one bit of the training that I enjoy.
    I do a hard long ride each year, and for this I have to get down the gym for about 5 months before to change body fat into muscle and I finish up weighing 155lbs when I am fit. In the two weeks before the ride, I like to put on 4lbs of body weight, solely due to carbo loading. This generally last's until 6 hours into the ride, so on the ride I eat again, All the way I am munching on something.
    The other vital thing is water. You drink a pint 30 minutes before the ride, you then drink as much as you can for the ride. For me this is around 2 pints an hour. If you get thirsty, you are dehydrated and then it is too late. It will take a couple of hours of drinking to get back to normal, and cycling at a slow pace at that as you will have lost energy.

    If it is possible to raise the handlebars an inch or so, this may save the neck a bit, but the other thing to do is to Look for any extra comfort you can get, Extra thick padded shorts, the right clothing for the day, a couple of spare changes of tops if it is hot, and extra layers if it is cold.

    The other thing to do is arrange a bum transplant half way round, That will always cause problems when you start doing extra miles.

  4. #4
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    I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I can relate when you say, some days you can ride 100 miles and other days you can only ride 3. Only my flares come in cycles. I can ride and ride almost endlessly and then when I flare up (knees especially affected), I have to stop until things settle down. Do you take Glucosamine? For some with osteo, it really helps.
    I have learned to listen to my body over the years. If I don't, I almost self-destruct.
    Good luck on your upcoming ride. Do listen to your body.

  5. #5
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    I have osteoarthritis in my hip. This caused me to switch from running to biking and I can pretty much bike all I want- at least the hip doesn't limit me. Other body parts like my butt give out first.
    I've heard there are special pedal extenders that help with knee problems: www.kneesaver.net. These widen the distance between your feet a little which is supposed to help your knees. Assuming your bike fit is correct (especially your saddle is not too low), the most important thing is to spin in low gears and not push high gears. Even though I don't have osteo in my knees yet, as far as I know, whenever my knees bother me it always helps to shift to a lower gear. If that doesn't help, then definitely stop when it hurts is a great idea.
    I take glucosamine/chondroitin for the osteo. You can get it fairly inexpensively in Kirkland label at Costco. I don't know if it helps or not but my hip is doing pretty good so I keep taking it.

    Good luck with your riding and on Seattle to Portland!
    Rich
    Rans Rocket; Montague CX; Dahon Helios SL

  6. #6
    bike123.com
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    Arthritis. Mine diagnosed 5 months ago. Psoriatic Arthritis. Both feet - right where the pedals hit the feet! Right inner elbow, both hands where the hands his the ands of the bars. Working on special shoes and diest mods to avoid too many drugs. Psoriasis is creeping about the thighs. Unless i wear knickers or tites, I get many questions about crashes.

    25% of Psoriasis sufferers get the manifestation of arthritis in the joints and there is no cure for either.

  7. #7
    Senior Member trmcgeehan's Avatar
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    My doc says cycling is good for osteoarthritis in the knees. The pumping action flushes fluid through the cartilege, thus keeping it supple. If a person is not active, there is very little flushing action and the cartilege becomes brittle and breaks off.
    "I am a true laborer. I earn that I eat, get that I wear, owe no man hate, envy no man's happiness, glad of other men's good, content with my harm." As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 2. Shakespeare.
    "Deep down, I'm pretty superficial." Ava Gardner.

  8. #8
    Just do it!
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    Marge,

    I can relate to your situation, Biking has helped me considerably with my knees. Some days are better than others. I take Glucosamine and Flax seed oil as a preventative measure. I can also help minimze a flareup by when first detecting a it by taking an anti-inflamatory. Have a great time on your ride!

    Tom......

  9. #9
    Berry Pie..the Holy Grail GrannyGear's Avatar
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    Tightwad...and others::: how is cycling with artificial knees...my "girlfriend" (mid 50's) is facing knee replacement due to old injuries (gymnastics), pre arthroscopic surgery, and ensuing arthritis. Any hope for future cycling...and what kind of cycling can she best expect? Thanks.

  10. #10
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    I find keeping my knees warm does help. As I understand it when the knees become cold the lubricating mechanisms stop working so I wear knee-warmers when it's not a bit cool.

  11. #11
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    I have had a form of Athritus (AS) for 20 years. Riding was always a challenge based on the level of inflamation and pain I was experiencing on ride days. Last month I started taking shots of a new FDA approved drug for AS and RA called Enbrel. This drug does not cure the disease but it stops the inflamation casued by my wacky immune system. It has eliminated 95% of the pain and inflamation I once had. I am now riding pain free for the first time in 20 years.

    I have also lost 10 lbs since I started taking Enbrel which is a real nice surprices becuse I now have a six pack abdominal muscle and when I cycle my road bike and I are now 10 lbs lighter. To reduce my bike weight just 2 lbs would have cost $600 for titanium parts. To reduce my bike weight 10 lbs from 22lbs to 12lb I would have had to buy a new $7,500 bike.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GrannyGear
    Tightwad...and others::: how is cycling with artificial knees...my "girlfriend" (mid 50's) is facing knee replacement due to old injuries (gymnastics), pre arthroscopic surgery, and ensuing arthritis. Any hope for future cycling...and what kind of cycling can she best expect? Thanks.
    Please understand that this can vary greatly from person to person.

    MY experience is that I can ride as much as I want to as long as I pay VERY close attention to the
    road and traffic. Once you get knee implants falling at speed it a VERY bad thing. Very bad.

    That said as long as your GF does her therepy she will heal faster and better. She "may" be able to
    'push it" but I'd be careful about trying to much. Just settle back and ride for the fun of it and she'll
    do fine. Remember, knee implants only allow you to walk without pain in a somewhat normal manner.
    They are not as durable nor as long lasting as what God made.

  13. #13
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    Hi Grannygear, I ride most days with care and only at my pace which at times is pushing it along a mite I have had a knee joint replacement which has not worked to well,takes me most of twenty mins on my bike to soften the tissue then I can almost ride all day, but in saying that I take a lot of pills ..life is for living go hard....

  14. #14
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    New Rider

    Hi,

    You are the first forum member that I am writing to.
    I, too, have RA and in spite of it have goals to reach 50 mile rides at some point.
    I so enjoy riding around the neighborhood in the early morning here in Arizona and am doing about 5 miles.

    If you do not mind, would you please share with me what works best for you while riding to make it more comfortable because of the RA.

    Thank you and I support you courage to ride

    Linda

  15. #15
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with OA 14 years ago and gave up riding about 10 years ago, when I retired in 02 I needed some exercise so started riding again and could ride 10 miles without pain. Last summer I tried riding farther and now ride up to 35 miles a day with no pain, I like to think the riding actually helped improve the health of my joints. I also no longer take any meds for my OA.
    I am nor recommending this for others but it works for me.
    Treks, 79-710, 83-600, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-930, 1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  16. #16
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a77impala
    I was diagnosed with OA 14 years ago and gave up riding about 10 years ago, when I retired in 02 I needed some exercise so started riding again and could ride 10 miles without pain. Last summer I tried riding farther and now ride up to 35 miles a day with no pain, I like to think the riding actually helped improve the health of my joints. I also no longer take any meds for my OA.
    I am nor recommending this for others but it works for me.
    Yes, riding can , and does, help mobility of the joints. The reason is that riding a bicycle(sitting down
    mind you) can help because the joint gets movement WITHOUT weight bearing. That's the secret.....
    move with no weight or stress on the joint.

    I rode until my knee joints were just gone. That's when I decided to retire and get "repaired" with new
    knee joints. One of the happiest days of my life was that first ride after surgery & rehab

    People don't understand that with OA you might not be able to walk very well (or not at all) but you
    CAN ride a bike. It's because you ride........sitting down.

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I was diagnosed with RA in 1985. I have some joint deformation and a very limited range of motion in some joints. There have been times in the last 20 years when I could not lift my feet high enough to get into a bathtub, or reach my feet to put on shoes or socks. I couldn't bend my knees much or walk more than half a mile without extreme pain.

    I started biking 13 months ago for general exercise. At that time, the range of motion in my hips was so limited I couldn't even get my leg over the bike seat. I had to lay the bike down to get on and off of it.

    Bicycling has done wonders for my general condition and for my range of motion. I am stronger than I have been in years, and I can get on and off the bike with no problem. My wife and I regularly ride 40 to 50 miles on a week end. The only problem I have is that sometimes the joints in my feet swell up, and it's tough to walk for an hour or so after getting off the bike.

  18. #18
    Around now and then DnvrFox's Avatar
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    My wife has just finished a series of injections into ther knee joints of hyaluronic acid. This is supposed to relubricate the joint.

    She is currently scheduled for left knee replacement in the fall.

    I would urge anyone facing knee (or hip) replacement to consider the newer techniques of minimally invasive surgery(MIS), where they do not cut the muscles and tendons. There are many surgeons who claim to do the MIS, but only a few who have been trained in the latest techniques. We interviewed many surgeons, including a famous one here in Denver (who claimed he did MIS) and found that he had received NO special training on the technique. We have settled on Craig Loucks, MD. Folks come from many states for his work, and he is only 4 miles away!

    She is one of those who can't walk very far anymore but can ride for a long time!
    Last edited by DnvrFox; 07-14-06 at 06:38 AM.
    DnvrFox - still bicycling, swimming, walking and weight lifting at 74yo is participating a bit in BFN 50+.

  19. #19
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recycle
    The only problem I have is that sometimes the joints in my feet swell up, and it's tough to walk for an hour or so after getting off the bike.
    Try "drawing a circle" with your foot while you ride, mate. I know is sounds silly but that
    small bit of movement will help pump the pooled blood out of the foot to relieve the
    swelling you get. This can be done safely while you coast one foot at a time so give
    it a try.

  20. #20
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    Just curious - why is riding while seated better for your knees than standing?
    When I stand, I don't hyperextend my knees, so why would it be more painful or even harmful to your knees (OA, RA, or not)?
    Thanks.
    Caruso

  21. #21
    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    Just curious - why is riding while seated better for your knees than standing?
    When I stand, I don't hyperextend my knees, so why would it be more painful or even harmful to your knees (OA, RA, or not)?
    Thanks.
    Caruso
    When seated you don't have your upper body weight on your legs. Also if you are hyperextending your knees you need to adjust your seat height, your legs should be slightly bent when you are at the bottom of the pedal stroke. I can only stand for a few minutes before experiencing hip and knee pain but can ride as long as I want without pain.
    Treks, 79-710, 83-600, 85-420, 87-560, 90-930,92-970, 95-930, 96-930, 1220, LeMonds, 2000 Zurich, 05-Etape, 06-Versailles

  22. #22
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carusoswi
    Just curious - why is riding while seated better for your knees than standing?
    When I stand, I don't hyperextend my knees, so why would it be more painful or even harmful to your knees (OA, RA, or not)?
    Thanks.
    Caruso
    There is also other concerns that often go hand in hand with OA & RA. As an example I have
    "Venous Insufficiency" whereby the blood in my legs doesn't flow back to the heart like it should
    anymore with blood pooling in the legs as a result. My legs get tired or cramp if I push to hard
    which is why I sit to ride now. There are many, many other reason that riding a bike while seated
    is the best way for folk's with OA & RA to ride. It's that or no excercise which is very bad.
    Very bad.

    As a matter of fact......
    I've ridden my 2 wheelers twice this year with all other daily rides using my new 3 speed Worksman
    PAV trike. It sits like a chair and is just great for me and my concerns. Now that I've "pimped
    my ride" out with a stereo, a wood bead seat,and naked lady mud flaps I just have a ball
    riding all over my local area.

  23. #23
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    I'm 58 and have arthritis in the knees. The strap type knee supports help quite a lot. Try them. More important; it's time to start listening to what your body is telling you. It may be saying 200 miles is too much. You need to understand that you are now, officially, on the downhill slide. It aint pretty, but can be managed with reasonable results. Acting like you're still 25 is definately out. Food for thought.

  24. #24
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkaapcke
    I'm 58 and have arthritis in the knees. The strap type knee supports help quite a lot. Try them.
    This is good advice for those who are not yet at the stage where they have no cartilage left in the
    joint. At this stage there is little left to do but replace the joint. The longer you can postpone the TKR
    the better off you will be so baby your knees to extend the joint life. If a support will help.....then
    buy one......now. When you get to Bone on Bone the pain can be unbearable. Baby them ol' knees
    as long as you can.

  25. #25
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marge
    When I was 36 I was CONFIRMED with osteoarthritis in both knees. Right knee mild, left knee bad.
    I'm 48 now (all right, all right I know technicallly I don't qualify for the 50+ forum) and I am training for the STP in July. (Seattle-Portland) Would love to here from any members about what advice you
    would give me. It's a little over two hundred miles and I plan on cycling the largest amount of miles the first day. I am truly without a clue as some days I can bike 100 miles no problem and other days
    3 miles are too much. Have any of you ever done something similiar to this? I plan on doing this in
    two days. I'd love to hear from all distance cyclicts and their coping strategies.
    Marge: Here is one experience which does not mean that it applies to you.
    I suffered an accident due to rock climbing which caused excruciating pain in my knee. X-rays and MRI revealed Arthritis in both knees and the Doctors said nothing could be done. I was about 60 when this happened. I said to hell with this and started spinning exercises for one to two hours/day. Used a lot of Vioxx and later Advil. Got off both anti inflammatory drugs within one year. Kept training at high cadence and low load. I went on a Coast to Coast 3000 mile bike tour at 120 miles/day with no ill effect.
    Special warning: I use high cadence of 90 to 100 RPM. After all of that I feel stronger at age 65.

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