Thanks in advance for any words of wisdom.
I am a 39 year old male and stumbled upon this site in looking for
additional info on my CP. I enjoy many activities and consider myself to
be in pretty good shape. In a typical week, I usually get in a couple of 4
mile runs, a nite of pickup basketball, 4 days of varied weight training
(lunch hour), and in winter I usually ski race one nite a week on a
corporate ski racing team. I am an avid skier and have learned that my
knees can handle 3 or 4 days in a row of agressive black diamond skiing
ONLY if I properly train in advance of the season (varied leg excercises)
and pop a few ibuprofin when the pain comes. In summer, I do some mountain
biking and play a little more hoops, some volleyball, or do a little more
running to make up for the lack of skiing. Way back in high school (1975?)
I had my first "drain" of fluid from my knees. Since then, there have been
numerous times where I have had to drain fluid, occasional cortisone shots,
etc. When I was officially diagnosed with CP back in the early 80's, I was
given some straight leg exersises using ankle weights to add some bulk to
my slender upper legs - I did this for a couple of years pretty religiously
but eventually. (When I started those excersises, I was 6-4" and about 175
lbs) In 1984, I had arthroscopic "shaving" done to both knees which seemed
to help "smooth" things out in my knee joints for awile, but I really think
I just learned to deal with what my "limits" were more than anything.
Using weight training, I have added some significant "bulk" to my legs
although they are still pretty long and lean (put it this way, I don't have
the legs of a fullback!). Over the last 5 years my weight has been steady
at about 212 lbs.
So here I am now still doing the things I love but knowing the following
about my knees:
1. My knees are the "weak link" in my body. You can put your hand on my
knees while I just bend them with no weight on them and feel and hear my
knees grind like they are full of sand. I have NEVER been able to do a
full deep knee bend without some pain. Walking uphill or up stairs is
often painful. Regardless, I have learned to deal with it and consider
myself to be more agile, athletic, and active than most guys my age.
2. If I take a couple of ibuprofin prior to significant activity (2-3 hours
of hoops, a day of skiing, etc.) I have MUCH less pain during and after the
activity. In fact, if I don't, my knees are actually HOT to touch after
showering and relaxing on my couch!
3. If I over do it by skiing 3-4 days in a row, or by doing significant
activity more than about 3-4 times a week (combination of a day or two of
skiing, running one day, hoops one day - all in a week) then I WILL get
fluid buildup in my knees and the resulting pain for a couple of weeks and
I have to lay low to let them heal...depending on how bad it is, I may need
to get them drained although that usually happens only about once per year.
4. Weight training makes a BIG difference in how strong and how good my
legs feel. I can't do full squats but I can do what I call 1/2 squats,
quad curls, ham curls, monster lunges, etc. Even though they sometimes
hurt a bit on the first rep, I keep pushing through it and it seems like
the joint gets "in the groove" and the pain subsides during the 2nd and 3rd
set. If I have too much pain...I just stop and try something else. I
continue to try to push myself just to continue to add strength versus just
tone. (some may thing this is not wise but I really feel that it is
benefiting me more than hurting me.)
Here are some questions...
I have recently read about various products with glucosamine and
chondroitin and spoken to a few who have tried these products. These
people are much like me...close to 40, still very active and living with
their knee pain. What can you tell me about these products, are they worth
Also, with all that I have told you, what advice or comments do you have
regarding my "weak links".
Thanks for any info...this is a valuable site and to everyone that is still
pushing through the pain...DON'T GIVE UP AND BECOME A COUCH POTATOE!
Russ - If you have read other responses to questions regarding knee pain, you will find that I strongly urge you to get a biomechanical evaluation. Orthotics are often a good solution for chronic knee pain. I have also observed that while there is not great science supporting the use of cartilage suppliments, there is good anecdotal evidence for the use of such suppliments. My advice is to steer away from chondroitin sulfate, and rather use glucoaminosulfate (chondroitin is a macro molocule and therefore not very well absorbed). As far as your ski boots are concerned, you should get custom boot fit by someone who does such work. Often, this sometimes minor adjustment to your boots will reduce your knee pain a great deal. Finally, you hit the nail on the head - strong quads equals reduced knee pain. Keep it up!