The Aches and Pains of Aging Actively

Dr. W. M. Bortz II




Q: I have been diagnosed as having osteoarthritis in my left hip. I’m 44 years old and have been training and competing in contact sports since I was 10 years old. I still train four to five days a week — weights, cardio, personal-boxing training. I would like to be better informed about what I should do and not do with this ailment. I would welcome any information about diet, stretching and treatment. Can you recommend any books I could read to better understand the problem and options to deal with the long-term effects of this complaint?

A: At your tender age you are paying the price for having beaten up your joints in your contact-sports era. Each hit you administered and received put a little dent in your armor, and now you ache. Professional football linemen uniformly suffer achy knees, hips and backs, a direct result of the pummeling their connective tissue takes in the process of making a living.

       What is essential with your aching hip is to be sure to properly maintain the mechanism of your movement. Too often, a person with a rotten joint falls into patterns of motion that transfer weight to the healthy side of the body. Then, sooner or later, the good joints get overloaded, and they join in the chorus of aching. Your active exercise program is commendable because it keeps your muscles, tendons and ligaments tight and thereby prevents loosening, rattling and further joint deterioration.
      You may wish to contact Dr. John Bland of Burlington, Vt., our country's leading expert in learning to live with arthritis. He has also written about the potential reversibility of the arthritis with a properly designed exercise program.
      I also advise judicious use of anti-inflammatory medicines. Also, recognize that we are now in an era of rapid scientific advance. I am hopeful that the tens of millions of people who suffer from arthritis, such as yourself, soon will have a widening array of options to ease their aches and improve the quality of their lives.



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