Member Case Study: Training with Arthritis

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Are there other triathletes who have compensated for lack of running due to arthritis? How is that done or how is it managed?

Member Question
I have arthritis in my hip, and until now, I have been able to do three sprint distances, although I struggle with the run. As a result, I only run about once a month for about 3 miles, and the rest of the time I use the elliptical machine in the gym for 35-45 minutes, twice a week. I would like to consider an International distance, but am concerned about the run. Are there other triathletes who have compensated for lack of running? How is that done or how is it managed?
 

Answer

First off, congratulations on continuing your desire to exercise and compete. It is great to try and remain active no matter what complications you may face. It sounds as though the arthritis is localized to one hip. Without knowing any details regarding your age, medical history, medicines or other modalities tried for the pain it makes it a little bit more difficult.

 

It sounds like you have made some good changes in training by using the elliptical machine to aid your workouts. Other non-impact exercises like swimming may also help with endurance. If you have no contraindications to anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, Aleve, etc. these may also help reduce the pain if taken regularly. Tylenol may also help if the pain is limited to arthritis. Icing after your runs or workouts may also help by decreasing the local inflammation.

 

If you are still unable to run the increased distance of the international distance due to pain it may be beneficial to see your local sports medicine doctor. He/she can evaluate and make sure there is nothing causing permanent damage and possibly recommend physical therapy or other training help to get you there if you are determined to do it.

Christian Millward, MD
Member AMSSM
Provo, Utah

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date: December 18, 2006

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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