T Nation

Young Man, Messed Up w/ Arthritis


Hello everyone,

i have been battling knee problems for about 3 years now. and back in late 09' i was diagnosed with arthritis in the medial region of my left knee. I have also had pain in both shoulders for about the same time and im working on finally getting that checked out. but i have no health insurance and have to go through a stupid public health care center.

JPS "john peter smith hospital", for those of you who might know it. the doctor there are sufficient. but the time it takes to get in there and the quality of care i have to say are sub par for someone who want to be physically active.

i am 26.. , i feel that with my list of injuries at such a young age i am pretty much just as bad off if not worse than most over 35 lifters. my right knee has no medial meniscus and the doctor said it was like something he would see in a 50 year old on the mri.

i have been riding my bike for a while now. and i seem to be able to tolerate it very well. but i dont squat or lunge because i dont want to fuck my knee, and although in the past i trained like a madman with squats presses and deadlifts, i am unqualified to give myself rehabilitation.

im trying to decide how much to disclose cause there is alot, but at this point i need to find work and i will bne getting my shoulders checked out this summer, and hopefully getting an mri to see if my left one is arthritic or not, i hope is jsut realy bad impingement due to my inabilty to fix my posture"ive tried hard. im thinking at this point in my life it is time to slow down and wait till i can make enough capitol to get evaluated by one of the private experts in my area, which there are a few where i live that ive researched.

i want to be able to do things when im in my 40s for fuck sake. one thing i dont understand is all the talk about going to experts one here... is everyone rich? obviously that cant be the case. and insurance doesn't cover special stuff.

im alot smarter than i read on text guys, i know ive made myslef look liek an idiot. but i know a little bit more than you might expect. blah blah blah lol.
oh well, thats my state of being at the moment, maybe when im not so lazy ill post my stats.
im 5'11.6 (182)
weight currently this morning 222

i was 185 but the damn meds the phyc put me on i gained 65 lbs roughly and it made my knee feel shitty as hell. i could have had more will power to not eat on them but it shows what a fuckwad i am right.... young and idiotic. its funny what life teaches you as you get old.
oh well look forward to feedback,.
it would be good to hear from others with similar situations, or from qualified ppl in the field to give insight. i would greatly appreciate it.

take care all


Every lb you are overweight adds 3 lbs of stress to the joints. I would focus on pain free strengthening in closed chain movements mainly single leg movements seeing as they have less compressive forces on joints. Do hamstring/quad/piriformis/ITB stretching. There is no cure for arthritis, at that age a knee replacement would be unthinkable sseeing as it would need numerous revisions with each one lasting 10-20 yrs depending on activity levle. To recap, take fish oil, SL closed chain movements IE lunges/ split squats/ sl deadlifts/, stretch out the muscles around the knee, do non impact cardio.

Hopefully that helps.


I'm 42. I've had three knee surgeries on the right knee, and one on the left. Mostly due to judo competition (which I can't do anymore because of injuries) and soccer, but probably also due to a lot of stupid lifting in my early 20's when I would bottom right out and bounce-squat 450lbs+.

Now I have restricted range of motion in my right knee (can't bend my knee to touch heel to ass), and full blown bone-on-bone in the right knee and arthritis in both. I've got inflamed bursa sacs, behind my left knee it looks like a tumour, it gets so big. Lately my hip is killing me cause my walk has been distorted for years now, and I've apparently started to grind out the cartiliage in my left hip.

The reason I say this, is I still squat 400lbs, deadlift, lunge everything, and even play old-timers soccer once a week. It is all possible, but you just have to learn proper warm-up, how to manage the inflammation after work-outs (nothing like good old fashioned icing twice a day), supplementation (fish oil, ibuprofen when needed, glucosamine) and backing off when needed. And pain needs to be a friend.

The good news is diamond knee replacements are apparently only 5-10 years away. They are in the prototype stage right now. And cartiliage transplant techniques are improving every year. So, stay strong, stay fit and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


your an inspiration to me my freind.

i dont have total bone on bone in both knees though.... you say you squat 400lbs, lunge a,d play soccer? WTF ,
how can i describe this to you, i was in a play in a fight scene a few months ago
there was about 14 performances. i weighed about 255 and i got through some nights with no pain at all, even bounding around. and when i weighed 190-180 range a few months before i could get around with very little to no pain and was way more agile,
but you are able to play soccer? so essentially what your telling me is if you can handle the pain of these activities than it is manageable.? i would think that 400 lbs squat would greatly increase degeneration, as well as soccer. but ive heard that there are lineman with knee arthritis, who play.
You see this is kind of my struggle. its for knowledge to know my own body, and to know what i can tolerate, and to know how much worse the activities will make the actual condition.
if you can still do those things,.. and ive read some forums with older guys here squatting with full arthritis like yours, then maybe i still can?
now keep in mind ive learned my lesson. and will probably not be trying to go over a 405 deadlift, i used to do 3-4 set of 10 with 405, "not impressive by serious standards" but in the gym i trained ppl thought i was strong. that is my only real strength accomplishment as pathetic as it may seem to you all. had i known how to train right i might have done more, but i didnt. id deadlift 2-3 times a week, heavy as possible.... RUN 3-4 sometimes six miles, and bench as many times as i could..... i was a dumb 21 year old with severe self image issues.
but all the same my friend, your post gives me hope, i sincerely thank you.look forward to any more advice i can get from you.


Maybe you have Ankylosing Spondylitis
That shit sucks the life out of your whole body
Google it or do a youtube search


OH, and i almost forgot.... do you think you could give me some direction on warmups? for leg weight training, or cycling? what kind of warmup do you do before squatting??? or soccer?
it must be pretty damn comprehensive? maybe theres a article, or a dvd series you could direct me towards, i wish i could get the opinion of one of the great coaches here. theyd probably just tell me im a moron lol, and get lost.
but seriously, any insight you can give on this would make me very grateful


Firstly, I have never had any issues with my knees during an activity, provided I've warmed up and stretched. The pain comes a couple of hours after the activity.

Here's how I handle myself (and I'm not a doctor);

A) I always wrap both knees, not tight, not for support but for heat, regardless of whether I'm working upper body, lower body, mowing the lawn etc. Gotta keep the knees warm.
B) Buy yourself a couple of these ice wraps w. gel that you can use then put back in the freezer (about $35 each). Use them right after a workout, wrap your knees and put your legs up for 20-25 minutes, just to get the blood into the joints and cut down on the inflammation sans medication.
C) I take 200mm of Ibuprofen an hour or two after a leg workout or soccer game. No alcohol at all if you are on an Ibuprofen regimen, too hard on the liver from what I've read. Alleve is OK, I stay away from Tylenol, only because I've heard regular use hurts the liver
D) Get orthotics. No, they're not for old people. We all start to have issues with our foot rotation, falling arches, especially if we're lifting weights. The orthotics will help with cushioning and keeping your stride form proper
E) Ice as necessary. I can't say enough how much icing helps. After a soccer game, I'm icing 2-3 times a day for next three days. Ice massage is great, where you freeze water in a styrofoam cup, then use the actual ice on the joint
F) I'm 6'2", but can't go above 215 without feeling it in my knees. Depending on the sport, for example, soccer is 9x body weight loading on the knees. Every pound counts
G) Fish oil everyday. Glucosamine everyday. I have no idea if they actually work or are placebos, but seems to me my knees feel better when I've been taking them regular.
H) I don't know if squatting is an issue - there's no pounding on the joint if done properly, and sure, you can't (shouldn't) break parallel with bad knees, but then I don't know if that's necessary
I) The prowler is great, hardly any pain in the knee the odd time I've found one to use. I think that's because a lot of stress on the joints is in the eccentric phase of motion

Anyways, just my two cents. Hardly a fool proof formula. But I had three doctors tell me to take up golf and swimming or walking as my "sports". WTF. I figure, if I'm going to go down, I'm going down fighting the whole way. I'm just trying to stay strong until the day I can get my diamond knee replacement in a couple of years, and then I won't be like some of these other losers who listened to their doctors, laid off all physical activity, and then found it next to impossible to rehab with their new knees.

Good luck.


I should add - I never run outside of a soccer game. Running is out. The worst thing you can do for your knees. My cardio is all bike, or treadmill walking on an incline, the odd time I will do some rowing. But complexes with a barbell, or like the 300 routine, are great for Cardio

Also, never stand in bare feet on hard floors. Crocs, sandals, anything that will cushion. You have to consider that with osteoarthritis, all your natural cushioning in the joint is gone.

For warm-up I usually do bike, if I can for 10 minutes at the gym. At the soccer field I usually get by with light jogging, but have to do it for at least 10-15 minutes before I'll even entertain the idea of hitting the field.

The last thing I would add, is stretching is big for me. Especially hip stretching, along with hams and quads. You have to have high mobility to make use of what little joint action you have.

Was diagnosed with arthritis 4 years ago. It took me a long time to get where I am, and am still learning.



Most of us did this or worse at 21. Not really that bad.

I don't know how much you weighed by 4 sets of 10 deadlift with 405 is impressive, don't be skewed by internet numbers.

Sounds more like the first area to improve is your mentality. Second maybe hit a chiropractor, most are not great but they are still more knowledgeable of posture than the average person and can help you learn to move your body correctly. Overdoing exercise can wear down tendons but the damage you did to your body sounds much more like a posture and movement problem than the results of your exercise.

Start taking fish oil, glucosamine, and do all body weight exercises for a few months. After that try to find someone more advanced you can train with that will check your movement patterns, if not, then try to work slow and start your exercises with short ROM and build from there.


I am a PT and pretty much to recap stretch ur hips IE piriofrmis/quads/hams etc. You could look into injecitons of euflexa or synvisc both of which are joint lubricants. SL traning will most likely be the way to go/ non or low impact cardio IE walking/bike/stepper. Aquatics exercise IE swimming will help due to buoyancy of water and how it unloads the joints. Take fish oil, there is no evidence glucosamine works but if you want to take it, try it and if it helps then take it. Avoid leg ext b/c that exercise puts tons of torque thru the knee. Heat the knees as needed and wearing neoprene wraps on them may help.

HOpe tha thlep

Chuck MSPT


Oh yeah - I forgot all about Synvisc.

I went through one round of treatment on my right knee, three injections over 14 days. Each injection got more painful, the last one has a lot of swelling around the knee, and even inflamed a bursa sac in the upper right quadrant of the knee capsule. But it did work great - for about 4 months. Then it all started to degrade again.

Waited until 6 months were up from time of the first injections, then went for new round. This time, after the first injection went home, knee swelled up like a water balloon and then had cold shivers all night. Went back to the doctor next morning, he looked at my knee, stuck a needle in and drew out just tonnes of pus and green goop.

Turns out I am in the 10-15% that are allergic to the key compound in Synvisc and all it's cousins.

So, I would look into it (it can be expensive $400 per round here in Canada), it does work, but then again it may not.


thanks for all the info man, and are those diamond knee things what i saw in that seminar for thinkers or whatever? and are they really going to available then? because i think i can hold out till then.
yeah, the 215 mark seems about right for me too. i think when i go above that that i am experiencing the most pain.
but if you would describe your condition again, are you totally bone on bone in your right?
and just mild arthritis in your left? i was a little confused.
having a horse cartilage replacement with pig tendon using that "gal stripping method" sounds awesome. after all the things Ive learned about proper training in the past years, i wish i could go back and train the right way, and have seen how much better my lifts would have been and how long i would have lasted. but for non professionals, it just goes to show how dangerous serious weight training can be if you are not totally educated.
my friends think im some kind of expert on all this shit just because i can diet and get relatively lean. its really funny. but of course im just a guy who loves learning about the human body. youth is wasted on the young.....



Hey man, i read your post and i gotta say, i feel for you man.. I destroyed a few discs in my back when i was 18 for misusing gym equipment in highschool. i used 2 enjoy playing hockey, basketball and handball.. all to which i had to stop doing for nearly 8 years. there were times i could barely walk... i would cry myself to sleep watching my self degrade.. i lost in inch in height because of the combination of my messed up back and scoliosis..

it actually used to hurt for me to stand up straight. eventually i started doing traditional tai chi through books. this helped relieve back pain alot. but i still couldnt move the same. many years later and we come to the now.. ive been working out again and i can actually run full speed and almost jump as high as i used 2. But the point im getting at is that i had to rebuild myself from scratch... research whatever isnt working properly, study the muscles bound and around it. and from there, start lightly..

my advice and this may seem strange, is if u know anyone with infant(s), watch them as they progress in life, ull c how we r meant to grow and evolve. i went back to doing weird and childish movements (by watching my son) and now im impressed on how function. This may not be the greatest advice, but hey man. it helps.. p.s i take high doses of glucosamine to help my joint issues


Hello themodster

                 i appreciate your post. that sounds like alot to go through and deal with.

ive never had back issues, but at some point might. it is a bad thing to have to go through joint problems so early isnt it? the young ppl around you, your friends, don't understand it, my friends cant comprehend my issues, and it gets annoying to have to keep reminding them. your advice is great, for the most part that is what ive been trying to do.. rebuild myself. i also have bad shoulders, although i am not sure if they arer arthritic yet.. they probably are at least he left one.
i do take high doses of Glucosamine , i dont care what ppl say, it works for me. and sometimes lower doeses will not do the trick.
and fishoil helps if i can get my hands on a decent brand of it. i have a hard tome believing guys on these forums still squat and lunge with arthritic knees, especially knees that are completley gone. i wonder how they walk.
but thank you for your consideration, i only wish i could run and jump like you say you do. but the knee only has so much of that in it.
any how take care and thank you.


hey BrahmaBull, have you ever had your knee lock up so you can’t bend it? Mine has done this in the past and eventually loosens up after several weeks. But now its happened again. I can’t bend it, can’t squat, can’t even ride the damn exercise bike…f’n depressing…do you have any suggestions on how to get my knee bending again? thanks!