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Exercises to reduce chronic joint pain

WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
I have chronic pain in an ankle. It is the result of an old injury in which my calcaneus (heel bone) was crushed. I had a subtalor triple fusion surgery. Arthritis developed. I have had bone spur removal. I have been somewhat successful in increasing my iverakk strength and endurance by doing seated exercises. However, I want to be able to walk for some distance without debilitating pain and stiffness. Is it possible to reduce the joint pain by increasing strength in the muscles supporting the joint?

My husband has suggested that I may have to use a wheelchair or scooter for some activities, rather than simply missing such activities. I'm interested in being able to travel and sightsee. I HATE the idea of giving in and using a wheelchair or scooter.

I'm 62.

Any of you smart people have suggestions?

Replies

  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member
    Have you done physical therapy for this?

    I have not had what you have. I have other joint and miscellaneous stuff (at age 65): Torn meniscus, osteoarthritis in various spots, some shoulder nerve impingement, scar tissue and cording in upper left torso from surgery and radiation therapy on top of the same area. (Only bone break ever was a pretty simple ankle fracture, no pins or anything major like that.)

    All of that stuff that I have has improved with reaching healthy weight (major help with multiple things), strength work, flexibility work, physical therapy (various rounds for various things), self-massage, professional massage, osteopathic manipulation, doing exercises recommended by physical therapist/massage therapists/osteopath, at one point even acupuncture. Right now, most conditions for me are at a background noise level, things I notice, but am not *significantly* impaired or distressed by. I think I'm lucky. It's all so individual.

    For me, activity (exercise) selection has been extremely, extremely important. I've experimented, and found that impact and torque on my knees particularly is big stressor, can be a problem . . . but strong hinging motions of the knee are fine. So, my core activities are biking (stationary and outdoor) and rowing (water and machine). I work on walking to stay conditioned to it, try to make it right to the edge of causing problems, but not go over. I don't run, don't play games that involve running/torque/fast breaks, don't do aerobics or most dance-y exercise, or do certain specific exercises that I've learned are more problem than solution, for me personally.

    For me, INactivity is a slow, steady slope to worsening. That's situation-specific, too.

    Honestly, I don't know what to suggest, because I think it's very condition specific and possibly even individually idiosyncratic. I think what has helped me is an open-minded (but not gullible: fine line!) "cautiously try everything I can afford or do that seems remotely plausible". Some of the interventions take big patience and persistence, to have an effect.

    There are even nutritional interventions people try for joint issues, like glucosamine/chondroitin (which people report as working even on pets (who aren't super influenced by placebo effect IMO), but I dunno: I'm vegetarian, haven't gone there myself because of that). One of my friends swore by high-quality CBD oil, ingested orally, for joint issue - not highness-producing. (It did nothing for me, personally.) In general, if there are nutritional deficiencies in the picture, or even nutritional sub-optimality, better nutrition could help (but it will take months of a trial to get a reasonable level of feedback on changes in nutrition, usually, IMO). Have you had blood tests for iron, B12, D, hypothyroidism, other things that can aggravate physical conditions like inflammation or joint pain?

    I try, in my own life, to give these things that are more common with age too much power, try to treat them as obstacles to find a way past, around, over, whatever - not doom. So far, mostly improvements. That obviously only goes so far, though, and there will be things to accept, sometimes, someday.

    I wish I had better suggestions. I hope you're able to find something that works.
  • WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
    Thank you. I have had physical therapy. It didn't seem to help much. That's why I'm trying to find ways to do something about it.
  • AnnPT77AnnPT77 Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member Member, Premium Posts: 19,847 Member
    Thank you. I have had physical therapy. It didn't seem to help much. That's why I'm trying to find ways to do something about it.

    FWIW, maybe not applicable for you. My physical therapists have varied in quality. It might be worth another try with a different PT, if that's an option. (Not sure where you are. The US health system has . . . deficiencies . . . but one IMO positive is that I can choose from a wide range of PT practices, and can research them pretty carefully, even sort of interview them. I've had the best results, on average, from small practice owned by PTs with decades of experience who do much of the work themselves. One exception was a big hospital system specialist PT for the radiation/surgery scar tissue/cording in my chest/neck/back - it was good.)

    This is tough stuff. I truly sympathize.
  • WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
    I appreciate your thoughts. I can do a lot. No running or jumping, of course. And I can't be on rough ground, because I have balance issues, because of limited range of motion. I've had that for years. Really, I've had all these problems for years, and never had any physical therapy until after the bone spur removal. That therapy focused on stretching the calf and on balance. I'm just so tired of not being able to walk any distance without severe pain. I've had the pain for years now, but I have just kept going. I did that mostly because I didn't want to spoil my family's experiences. Sometimes, I would just find a place to sit and wait for them while they enjoyed the activity. There have been many times when I didn't know if I would be able to get back to the hotel or the car because the pain was so severe. Fortunately, I haven't used opioids to deal with the pain. I would be the perfect candidate to become addicted. When I was prescribed opioids, I was very cautious with them. The doctors at that time would tell you that you couldn't become addicted if you only took what was necessary to handle the pain. We now know that advice led a lot of people to a terrible place.
  • bkaul2222bkaul2222 Member Posts: 15 Member Member Posts: 15 Member
    I'm not sure, but I'd recommend checking out kneesovertoesguy on YouTube as he might have some exercises for ankle injuries/problems.
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,286 Member Member Posts: 31,286 Member
    The heel being crushed is different from the ankle issue, right?

    That's a pretty specific problem...there are a lot of ankle rehab videos on YouTube and of course being a healthy weight will help a lot.
  • WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
    The ankle was also involved in the original crushing injury. (Which was caused when the engine came into the passenger compartment in a head on collision). Arthritis has manifested in the ankle as a result of the limited range of motion caused by the crush injury and the surgery to remedy the crush injury. I shouldn’t have posted the question. Random people on the internet, no matter how intelligent, knowledgeable, kind, or helpful, will not have the information needed to make specific recommendations. I was having a bad evening and feeling desperate. I was hobbled up with pain and stiffness after overdoing exercise. (I still am today). Thank you for your kind responses.
  • CherimooseCherimoose Member Posts: 5,186 Member Member Posts: 5,186 Member
    One thing that is rarely mentioned is to switch to shoes with no raised heel. Over 90% of shoes have a raised heel.. including ones marketed as "walking shoes".. and it creates a clunky walking gait that adds stress to joints. You will notice a smoother foot motion in shoes with a zero "heel to toe differential" ("heel-toe drop"), such as Vans, Altras, Keds, most skateboard shoes, etc. Altras have the most cushioning.

    Joints require frequent movement throughout the day to repair & stay healthy, because they lack blood vessels that muscles have, so they get their nutrients pumped to them in the joint fluid whenever the joint moves. The more movement, the better, so consider using a reminder app to ping you every 5 minutes to twirl your ankle around a few times in all directions, and also stand up a few times an hour if you sit a lot.
  • WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
    I wear shoes that I purchase from an orthopedic shoe store. Thank you for your suggestions.
    edited March 28
  • cmriversidecmriverside Member Posts: 31,286 Member Member Posts: 31,286 Member
    You can click on "Flag" and Report post on your first post in this thread, then check
    This is my post and I want to delete it
    if you want this thread closed.
  • snowflake954snowflake954 Member Posts: 6,476 Member Member Posts: 6,476 Member
    66 and suffer from OA. Swimming and light yoga help me the most, but I do other things too. Having the right shoe for long walks changed my life. I want a shoe as light as possible with support. Sketchers do that for me. I can now walk for hours. I do foot and ankle exercises and use a tennis ball to massage the bottoms of my feet. All these things are pieces to a puzzle. I've learned a lot from random strangers on the internet. I try anything that interests me to see if it helps me. Things that don't are eliminated, and things that work are added to my daily stretching and workout.

    I would suggest that you try a few different things. I believe that it is always possible to better your situation.
  • WhatsthemotiveWhatsthemotive Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member Member, Premium Posts: 144 Member
    Thank you. You’re most kind.
  • springlering62springlering62 Member, Premium Posts: 2,907 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,907 Member
    This is kind of an oddball suggestion, but seems your heel pain is moderately similar to plantar fasciitis, which also causes heel pain. Or should I say, the residual symptoms of what was clearly terrible accident.

    What about trying some of those super tight compression anklets that squeeze the foot and heel? They slip easily and unnoticeably under socks.

    Like these:
    https://www.amazon.com/Plantar-Fasciitis-Compression-sleeves-Orthotics/dp/B01091ZI0Q/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=plantar+fasciitis+compression+socks&qid=1617124752&sprefix=planta&sr=8-1

    edited March 30
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