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Biking with Osteoarthritis?

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Biking with Osteoarthritis?

Old 11-03-10, 10:02 AM
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mchirons
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Biking with Osteoarthritis?

So, as of today I am a former D1 cross country and track athlete. It turns out I have been running with osteoarthritis in my left knee for the past year and a half. Specifically, it is chondromalacia of my kneecap, basically just damaged cartilage and rough bone.

I'm getting surgery in 3 weeks to smooth the bone and remove the damaged cartilage and hopefully most of my pain will go away. However I won't be able to run competitively anymore if at all and was thinking about taking up cycling.

Does anybody have any tips/experience with knee arthritis and cycling?
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Old 11-03-10, 10:10 AM
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In general cycling is going to be much easier on your knees than Running. Many cyclists are ex runners for that reason.

That said cycling can cause chondromalacia, typically as a result of an improper saddle height. So I'd get a professional fitting from someone who knows what they're doing.

Your orthopedist, should also be able to set you up with a PT, that can teach you the leg stregthening exercises that prevent chondromalacia.
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Old 11-03-10, 10:45 AM
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Yes. I have no cartlidge under the anterior proximal aspect (IIRC) of my femur. I cannot walk down stairs or down steep inclines. BUT I can cycle 500 miles a month.
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Old 11-03-10, 11:17 AM
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I have moderate to severe OA. I ride extensively. Bit fit is crucial. I cannot run, even two strides. Stairs cause a chorus of crackles and crunches. Cycling is about the only thing I can do at this point. I used to run Track in HS and College. Now, I can't even run after my toddlers in the living room.
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Old 11-03-10, 11:32 AM
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Everybody.....check out Adult Stem Cell (non-embryonic) research. Stem cells harvested from one's own body, processed, then reintroduced into the body in the problem areas are seeing dramatic improvements for various types of injuries.

I'm researching on a treatment for my back problem (spondylolisthesis).

Last edited by StalkerZERO; 11-09-10 at 12:32 PM.
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Old 11-03-10, 02:19 PM
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Thanks for the comments. I'm only 19 and I'm probably one of the youngest people to have osteoarthritis but it is not near as bad as some of you have.

I've already come to the realization that I won't be able to run anymore (my first love) but I'm encouraged to know there is something I can do to stay fit that I enjoy.
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Old 11-03-10, 03:43 PM
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I am almost 38 and have severe OA in both knees. I get my 3rd injection of synthetic synovial fluid (Euflexxa) tomorrow to help alleviate the pain. I actually didn't race all this season because my first doctor thought I had patellar tendonosis. My new doc says, just ride though the pain if I can. It has been hard. I still have it in my head I will cause more damage. Not fun.
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Old 11-03-10, 05:24 PM
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I got the news that my left knee joint is just about shot - almost no cartilage left on the medial side. I'm taking synvisc injections, plus I was prescribed a leg brace to unload the medial side of the knee joint. Riding with a leg brace sucks and sure makes for an odd looking suntan. The timing for all this was about right since I was going to quit cycling anyway, while I spend the next two years building my retirement home. At least I got 25 good seasons (6500 miles last year) before the knee wore out. I'm hoping that the knee will last for 5 years before the joint needs replacing. I'll be 62 by then.

I've had two surgeries for torn meniscus on that left knee. I had a doc tell me that those surgeries can accelerate the wear from arthritis. I had my last knee surgery about 4 years before this diagnosis. All that was mentioned at that time was my lack of cartilage under the kneecap, which has never bothered me. The surgeon said that about 30% of the cartilage in the joint had been removed from the surgeries.

Last edited by DaveSSS; 11-05-10 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 11-03-10, 06:52 PM
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Good luck mchirons. I too was a D1 track athlete in college, many moons ago. I developed a warn out hip and took up cycling again in 2007. I started racing again in 2008, and can manage cycling and racing pretty much pain free. Can't run a lick now. With cycling I am fine. Check it out. Again, good luck.
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Old 11-03-10, 06:53 PM
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OK. Im done using common sense. Im just going to play along with all the medical related posts and build hysteria and hype... no that wouldnt be nice, how about I instead just point out in your post you:

State you were diagnosed with chondromalacia yet refer to arthritis and osteoarthritis several times. which is it?

Also state you wont be able to run competitively... I would not say that definitively. Ive seen plenty of people with Chondromalacia, OA, RA, PFPS (oh there is a ton of different terms for similar characteristics) that return running and riding more than I could.... I also see some that get knees replaced.

I will give some beneficial knowledge to DaveSSS, as he does do well with sharing the knowledge.... there are studies that show both the benefits of scope and the acceleration of degeneration. Generally, avoid getting opened up if you can, but a menisectomy can do a great deal of good. Keep in mind there is a large prevalence of asymptomatic meniscal tears in the general population (oooooh probably at least 10-25% of those aged over 50-60?) The worst are the people/surgeons that "just go in there to clean things out".... those are the people who get them frequently, have long term problems, and are a good payroll to the doc who gets paid for each surgery, then gets to put the new knee in there when the patient feels it isnt doing enough...

ok, off to some cycling...
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Old 11-03-10, 06:57 PM
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I suspect you will do well with cycling but please get guidance from the ortho rather than BF. Everybody is different, so folks with bad osteoarthritis do well with cycling and others don't.

If cycling can't happen you could probably do swimming (boring but even more gentle on your knees).

Good luck!
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Old 11-03-10, 07:34 PM
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I am 57, have had one hip replaced for osteoarthritis and will need the other replaced in 1-2 years. I can ride as fast as I did as a 28 year old medical student and wished I had never run at all. My orthopod said the skies the limit as far as cycling....ride as hard and far as you want, that it is the near perfect exercise for those with hip or knee pain. Get help , get going and enjoy the ride.
Milnerpt's post above is correct. Chondromalacia Patella ( runners knee), is not osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis in a 19 year old is very, very ( did I say very) unusual.

Last edited by surgeonstone; 11-03-10 at 07:38 PM.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:46 PM
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just a quick input. Cyclist have the lowest bone density of any athlete, simply because of the low compression on the bones. Bone growth comes from compression forces. That being said, it saves your joints, but also probably wont make your bones stronger. The trade off, though, is that through cycling, you get fantastic leg and hip muscles, so it helps even out the lower bone density with strength to support your joints.
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Old 11-03-10, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by milnerpt View Post
OK. Im done using common sense. Im just going to play along with all the medical related posts and build hysteria and hype... no that wouldnt be nice, how about I instead just point out in your post you:

State you were diagnosed with chondromalacia yet refer to arthritis and osteoarthritis several times. which is it?

Also state you wont be able to run competitively... I would not say that definitively. Ive seen plenty of people with Chondromalacia, OA, RA, PFPS (oh there is a ton of different terms for similar characteristics) that return running and riding more than I could.... I also see some that get knees replaced.

I will give some beneficial knowledge to DaveSSS, as he does do well with sharing the knowledge.... there are studies that show both the benefits of scope and the acceleration of degeneration. Generally, avoid getting opened up if you can, but a menisectomy can do a great deal of good. Keep in mind there is a large prevalence of asymptomatic meniscal tears in the general population (oooooh probably at least 10-25% of those aged over 50-60?) The worst are the people/surgeons that "just go in there to clean things out".... those are the people who get them frequently, have long term problems, and are a good payroll to the doc who gets paid for each surgery, then gets to put the new knee in there when the patient feels it isnt doing enough...

ok, off to some cycling...
And your solution is?
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Old 11-03-10, 07:58 PM
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Surgeonstone I have similar experience but on a lesser scale

I used to run right through the winter to stay in shape,I started getting severe shin splints that developed into stress fracture(xray was useless,mri only way to find stress fracture) if i kept running.


Now if i run even a 4-5 km the pain starts to come back immediately

I can bike hard and furious 3-4 hrs and have not one issue with shins,ankles knees.....only sore muscles

I owe everything to this fantastic sport,I was so depressed when I was not able to run, now i have a renewed love of life again
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Old 11-03-10, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by rusted_rider View Post
Surgeonstone I have similar experience but on a lesser scale

I used to run right through the winter to stay in shape,I started getting severe shin splints that developed into stress fracture(xray was useless,mri only way to find stress fracture) if i kept running.


Now if i run even a 4-5 km the pain starts to come back immediately

I can bike hard and furious 3-4 hrs and have not one issue with shins,ankles knees.....only sore muscles

I owe everything to this fantastic sport,I was so depressed when I was not able to run, now i have a renewed love of life again
I hear you.
Running for me was never fun. In medical school I did it due to time constraints...I thought running gave far more bang for the buck. Then when taking physiology I decided to evaluate my workout running versus riding. To my surprise I found my average pulse running was always 10-15% lower than when cycling...and yet running FELT like more strenuous exercise. Why?
I think a lot of the perceived exercise was really the heavy thumping which tended to cycle with my breathing whereas my cycling was so much smoother and even...and intense. Furthermore I could keep it up for a much longer time.
I have never run since.
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Old 11-04-10, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CHAS View Post
And your solution is?
solution.... either quit posting on the internet and talk your concerns with the man holding the knife who is gonna cut you.... get a second opinion.... or HTFU.

as for "Cyclist have the lowest bone density of any athlete, simply because of the low compression on the bones"
it is well known that cyclists should include some weightbearing activity to avoid loss of density..... but this guy obviously researches many other studies that show the bone densities of all athletes across the sports spectrum.

The last thing we want is this 19 year old kid getting ideas in his head of ultimatums through personal testimony on the internet rather than having a conversation with his physician, a second opinion, physical therapist, etc.
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Old 11-09-10, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mchirons View Post
Thanks for the comments. I'm only 19 and I'm probably one of the youngest people to have osteoarthritis but it is not near as bad as some of you have.

I've already come to the realization that I won't be able to run anymore (my first love) but I'm encouraged to know there is something I can do to stay fit that I enjoy.
Dude, your too young too give up on running if something can be done about it. Check out Adult Stem Cell research as a possible treatment. Google Regenexx or other clinics or hospitals doing the treatments.
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