Question: I’ve been suffering from arthritis for few years and can't exercise because it hurts my knees, shoulders, and ankles. But now I’m starting to gain weight and my doctor says that will make things worse for me. What do you say? Will working out make me feel better or worse?
Dr. Hibberd's answer:
Weight gain is a severe handicap for any patient with arthritis in their weight-bearing joints (hips, knees, ankles, feet). Those who cannot exercise on a treadmill or stationary bicycle need some other form of aggressive management, in my opinion.
Often a warm pool workout can help the arthritic pain, as well as maintain joint range of motion and muscle tone. These sessions can be supervised by a physical therapist on referral from your treating physician. Other pain-relieving options are also available (such as wax packs, ultrasound, stimulation, topical medicated treatments).
In any event, it is time to control your pain and your arthritis more aggressively. Ask your doctor to refer you to a rheumatologist for an opinion on further management and, if appropriate, a referral to an orthopedic surgeon for review of options available to you before things get worse.
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