It is Arthritis Care Week this week (14th – 21st May 2016) and I have been asked to write about my experience with living with arthritis by Adjustamatic who are creating an e-book around Living and Sleeping with Arthritis.
I have suffered from foot pain since my mid-twenties and was on some very heavy medication to help me combat the pain. It was so bad at one point that I had to have cortisone injections in my feet to help me walk down the aisle when I married my husband and I ditched my low heels pretty much as soon as we got to our reception venue.
The pain in my feet eventually pushed me to leave my job where I was walking around 10 miles a day to one behind a desk, which really helped and although the pain was still there I could manage it was over the counter medication and eventually nothing.
Fast forward a few years and the pain is back so I was referred back to the rheumatologist who diagnosed me with Psoriatic arthritis which causes inflammation in and around the joints and usually affects people who already have psoriasis, a skin condition that causes a red, scaly rash, especially on the elbows, knees, back, buttocks and scalp, which I also have.
Last year it was just my feet that suffered but I now have the condition in my left hand and struggle to grip anything, never mind open a bottle or a can.
I have been having steroid injections every 3-4 months for a year now, which really helps control my symptoms but the medication I have been taking doesn’t seem to be working so I am now trying something new.
The steroid injections normally last a good two months before my symptoms start to flare but this time I am gutted that it seems to have lasted just two weeks. I know I have to be patient and wait until the tablets start to work but in the meantime I am trying to carry on as normal and push through.
I have found that gentle exercise and natural supplements make a big difference, as movement keeps my joints and tendons looser and limber and the supplements help to reduce the inflammation and pain of psoriatic arthritis. Running is a no-no for me but I do a lot of walking and swimming and have just dusted my bike off and plan to take that out now the weather is better.
At the moment my main symptom is inflammation in my joints – three of my toes are very swollen which makes wearing shoes a challenge – thank goodness for the wiggle room in Hotter Shoes – and my index finger on my left hand has pretty much doubled in size. I am worried about long-term damage to my joints caused by this swelling but have no idea how to make it go down.
I know I am very lucky and could have my condition an awful lot worse than I have and feel very sorry for people who struggle to get in and out of bed, never mind walk to the shops.
Do you have any tips on managing arthritis?
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