Aging, Arthritis, and Joint Pain


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Trad climber
Topic Author's Original Post - Nov 23, 2007 - 08:58pm PT
I am 50 and have been climbing for 30 years. I have arthritis in both of my knees, one feels OK 361 days a year while the other can give me problems for weeks or months on end. Unfortunately the bad knee limits what I can do and has forced me to give up alpine climbing and anything with a long,steep approach. Luckily once things get steep I can perform fine.

I would like to hear from other people (especially doctors) on the following:
Does arthritis or joint pain limit what you can do?
Have you found any treatment that reduces pain and swelling?
What is the best way for me to ensure that I can still climb 10 or 15 years from now?


Social climber
Hercules, CA
Nov 23, 2007 - 09:02pm PT
I had to quite climbing for 10 years due to psoritatic arthritis. It's under control now with a combination of drugs. Glucosamine Chondroitin/MSM works well for me, but some days, it's just lots of ibuprofen.

I find that I have to make sure that I take care of myself or I get flareups. If I don't sleep enough or if I'm not getting enough exercise, then things get bad.

See a rhumatologist. They really know a lot about these types of diseases. My arthritis went from what felt like a stubbed toe to where it was hard to get out of bed in less than 2 weeks.

Good luck. It sucks getting older.

Nov 23, 2007 - 09:03pm PT
hell, I'm 30 and my knees are already gone

1/2way between Yos and Moab
Nov 23, 2007 - 09:03pm PT
I am 50 and have been climbing for 30 years. I have arthritis in both of my knees, one feels OK 361 days a year while the other can give me problems for weeks or months on end. Unfortunately the bad knee limits what I can do and has forced me to give up alpine climbing and anything with a long,steep approach. Luckily once things get steep I can perform fine.

I hear you. I am 53 and have the same problem. alpine climbs are probably out for me. my knees can't take the approaches.
cragging is also a problem, as I can't do high steps.

Trad climber
Nor Cal
Nov 23, 2007 - 09:35pm PT
I hear you too, I also have psoritatic arthritis but lucky mine was/is not bad enough to make me quiet climbing. I am nearly 50 with some in hands, knees, and wrists. I had two finger go bad about 17 years ago and then regain nearly 100% usage for some unknown reason after a couple of years. Now I just have bad skin and nails. See a rhumatologist is great advice. Some arthritis is natural and there are many different types. Good Luck Jeff

Trad climber
Nov 23, 2007 - 09:41pm PT
In a word. . .


Google that!

Spell it right! (it's NOT tumeric)

The stuff is AMAZING!

New findings say it works WAY BETTER if you ingest it with BLACK PEPPER. You can find them, in consort, online.

It's been discussed here, extensively. . . maybe you could seach it?

Good luck!



Nov 23, 2007 - 09:48pm PT
There are even WD40 fans on another thread hereabouts.

Since no pharmaceutical companies are advertizing WD40 for this in the newspapers, we know that is not a safe medical approach.

Social climber
Nov 23, 2007 - 11:09pm PT
hey there ... say... dont try this unless you know your health first, etc... but since arthritis in the joints is in one side of our family it started to sneak up some on me, and i had the forewarning...

since then, i do not eat anything that is packaged food--the chemcals seem to affect the joints.. this iliminates all that sodium and there is no extra SWELLING.... also, i never ate much meat, and hear-tell it is loaded with "extras".... (but i do get protien, i just take care how i do it...)

this may help you at least have LESS STRONG aggrivations... i nearly could not use my fingers from stiffness in joints and now they are working great... just the knuckle are a mite larger than in youth---but say, hands ARE needed for climbing, naturally....

stay active or your feet will get stiff, too... i have not had joint pains now, since i watch what i eat...(fruits and veg)

i am not sure about chappy---he in later years, at least, watched what he ate--i dont know if this same "family joint trouble" bothers him... i will ask...

also, if you KEEP STRONG thigh muscles and stomach muscles and keep your WEIGHT down, this keep extra pressure off the KNEES and they will last longer...

hoping for you all, for the best...
and i reckon some of you all may want to do the "doctor stuff" too, i am not stearing you away from such help...

but these "extras" really do keep pain away and freedom lasting longer... KEEP MOVING...!!!!

*need to edit:
i had spent some time sharing a house with folks that ate high sodium and packaged junk, etc, and i had been sharing food etc, so i knew that had made the serious change in my hands.... once i stopped that route and was on my own again, that was the proof i needed...

the last bivy
Nov 24, 2007 - 12:10am PT
hey eKat, you posted the info re the turmeric a bit ago and I tried it... the stuff really works! I noticed my shoulder really calms down with the stuff. And I REALLY notice if I stop taking it a couple days and the weird numbing ache comes back. thanks for the info..
give it a try anyone who hasn't yet. but really I think if I quit my job and climbed more the whole thing would go away.

Nov 24, 2007 - 12:20am PT
Yeah same here, Turmeric is the real deal.

And: I do what neebee said too. She's got good sense.

A real smart woman ......

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Nov 24, 2007 - 01:41am PT
Cool I never knew about Turmeric as a anti-inflamatory.
However I was aware of it as a medicinal plant in hawaiian culture.
Hawaiians of old practically revered the plant.

My joints are doing quite well (knock on wood)

A few years back I had an 80+ year old aunty living with me for a short time.
She took Gluclosemine. What I noticed from observing her was that the Gluclosemine with condroitin seemed to work great, with out Condroitin was not so effective.

In the early 80's I strained my ankle on the crux of 'Lunatic Fringe'.
I hobbled for 3 days.
Two years later, same climb, same place, same motion, POP...
(you'd think I'd learn)
I thought I would be hobbling for 5 days to a week this time.

In camp Yabo saw me hobbling around and suggested 'yucca extract'
I have not been with out a bottle since.

My father has pretty bad arthritis and tried the Yucca at my suggestion.
He found the same results for arthritis as I did for general tendon/ligament rip/strains...

It is not a cure, but seems to work great for diminishing inflamation on bad days.

many times when I was a union carpenter, I would get a sore wrist and by days end could barely hold let alone swing a framing hammer. 2 caps that afternoon and two fore' bed and the next day I would feel only mild soreness, if any.

Next time I am sore I am going to try Olena/Turmeric

Anyone else have any experience with Yucca extract ?

And BTW if you do wish to try glucosemine, get it from the vet' it will cost you the same for a 5lb bucket as it does for 100 caps at a pharmacy.

Trad climber
Nov 24, 2007 - 01:58am PT
And if you do get glucosamine with chondroitin, be sure the chondroitin sulfate is low-molecular-weight.
Lost Arrow

Trad climber
The North Ridge of the San Fernando
Nov 24, 2007 - 02:19am PT
It hurts just to get up off the floor. Gravity pulls on me way to hard these days. If I could go live on the moon things would be much better for me.

pimp daddy wayne

The Bat Caves
Nov 24, 2007 - 10:15am PT
I keep my knees strong by riding my bike. When my knees are strong my knees hurt less.

Trad climber
Nov 24, 2007 - 11:36am PT
Anybody considering taking tuRmeric needs to read EVERYTHING they can get their hands on about it. . . and make an educated decision. They say if you have galstones you shouldn't take it! I guess it causes an increase in bile production.

BUT. . . for us it's the Golden Key!

TheRealBlinny can get CBC Radio in the shop and listens to it while he's building guitars. . . and he recently heard a great program on the added benefits when you take turmeric with black pepper. He told me about it and I GOOGLED it and found lots of good info on it.

I have NOT purchased any of the combined caps, yet. . . cause we have a lot of straight turmeric. . . but I will look into it when I get back from the PopGloppaGhost.

We're still only on 1/3 the regular dose. We decided to start low so we'd have room to grow. . . and 1/3 does just fine for both of us.


Keep it alive, boys! (that's generic not genetic!)



Trad climber
Denver, CO
Nov 24, 2007 - 02:17pm PT
I use Natural Factors Glucosamine & Chondoitin Sulfates,
900mg 2x daily. I have arthritis in my hip & ankle (opposites),
and it does me good. You may have to try different brands, and it takes a good six months to notice a difference as it's rebuilding some stuff in the joint (notice my precise, medical terminology). . . good luck, keep limber, and keep moving!

Trad climber
Apple Valley, California
Nov 24, 2007 - 04:37pm PT
Very,very, bad knee, back, shoulder, and a couple of injuries
not so bad. I could be a wearher man. About 3 days before
the weather changes, all the body parts that have been injured
really start screaming with arthritic pain. The weather changes double and even triple the pain I normally feel on a day to day basis.

I've tried G an C, tumeric, and quite a few different inflammatories. Of them all Tumeric seems to help a little bit,
but doesn't get rid of it entirely. I'd say maybe about 10 to 20 percent.

I was going to quit climbing a 3 months ago, and that lasted about 2 months. It seemed like when I wasn't getting my exercise by climbing, I actually started hurting MORE.
especially in the back and knee.

I guess that is something us old Climbing GEEZERS will all go thru as we are getting older. I went out climbing with the
OLD GEEZER CLIMBING CLUB, yesterday. Locker was the youngest
at 52, and the oldest was a 61y/o Korean guy name Su.
Su is in Great shape, and he was the ROPEGUN for the group.
He is either injury free and doesn't have arthritis,
Or he has some secret Korean remedy,that keeps him pain free.
I should have asked him for his secret!!!! :)


Social climber
Nov 25, 2007 - 01:15am PT
hey there cosmiccragsman... say, as to this quote of yours:
"He is either injury free and doesn't have arthritis"

so very true....many folks dont understand how an injury can and many times does lead to arthritis later... and any joint pushed or pulled out of it proper framework will come back to haunt one... even the smallest little finger joint when bearing too much pressure while lifting, just to carry gear... folks dont realize it is best to use the whole hand to bear such pressures... learning this, usually comes the hard way, though, when it is near too late...

hey there wbraun... thank you, kind sir... say, how ya' doing?.... say, at my age, i'm trying to keep all my sense as shiney as possible, so it will all add-up to some good treasure... :)

hey there, all, say, i always put tumeric to use in general cooking--but--i do not know if this ammounts to much help or not, as i could never expericment with taking more of it from health food stores, etc.... sure hope this bit does some good, too... :)
ron gomez

Trad climber
Nov 25, 2007 - 10:09am PT
Arthritis can limit activity depending on the severity and the joint(s) involved. Range of motion exercises, joint mobilization, strengthening exercises, heat and meds can all help with the condition. Limit activity during yer flare ups and keep the joint(s) and surrounding area in good condition to help reduce stresses on the effected joint(s). Have you been diagnosed with OA or RA? There are some conditions that can feel like arthritis, but may not be arthritis, conditions that involve the joint capsule, surrounding soft tissue and other inflammations. Good luck with the treatments, stay active as you can as a preventative measure.

Nov 25, 2007 - 09:32pm PT
At 70 my knees are in pretty good shape - I've been climbing for 54 years - but I have severe arthritis in my shoulders. Also, chronic rotator cuff problems (minor). I take glucosamine tablets that also include chondroitin and - this I think is the key ingredient - hyaluronic acid (for lubrication of joints). It has worked well for me. About two weeks after starting I felt a fair amount of improvement. I had been taking glucosamine for quite awhile before this.
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