How An Aging Scientist Athlete Deals With Arthritis Pain

Hi folks,

arthritis, aging, hand, Ironman, training, exercise,

The author's left hand showing the location of three joints suffering from 'aging arthritis.'

Our bodies are like an old car. We accumulate physical damage as we age, but we don’t let that stop us. It is just part of the game of life. One thing that happens is arthritis in joints that have undergone surgery, in my case my knees, and body parts that are frequently exposed to minor traumas. My major area of arthritis pain is limited to three joints of my left hand. They will ache or even exhibit sharp pain. Once I get them moving washing the dishes, exercising for better health, or jiggle the joint around, especially ‘laterally or sideways’ to the direction of the joint, the pain decreases dramatically. I have found that the arthritis in my left hand can even be a problem whilst I’m swimming, but I ignore it and it eventually goes away (I guess my brain decides that I’m not interested in the message!). By keeping an arthritic joint moving through an active life-style, and rocking the affected joint from side-to-side to ‘pump out’ inflammatory fluids in the joint, I retain essentially normal function.

Some things are serious and some are an annoyance. It is important to take notice of pain, and if you are concerned that it may indicate a serious problem, seek professional advice. But like my old truck, I don’t take it to the garage for noises I know about. For instance, my truck has 300,000 miles on the odometer, and the differential gear in the rear axle is grumbling. This axle will break down one day, but it has made that noise for over 50,000 miles (and my left hand has been aching for several years). I just ‘keep an ear out’ for any sign of the noise (pain) becoming distinctly worse, and then I let it go.

Keep that old car going for as long as you can. Lots more fun to be had, so don’t let minor irritation get in your way.

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. “and then I let it go.” ??? Don’t you take it to the mechanic?

  2. Dear Sister,

    You missed the point again. Think about it.

    -k @FitOldDog

  3. You’re talking about your truck and your body. If the noise gets worse, don’t you do something about it?

    • Hi Marian,
      That is the point. There are aches and pains that are just part of aging, which mean body parts are wearing out. Then there are aches and pains that may mean a serious breakdown (liver or kidney failure causing bad breath, for instance, as opposed to not cleaning one’s teeth). The critical issue is knowing the difference. My sore finger joints are like my sore differential joint. A background of wear and tear, but not a cause for panic.
      That’s it.
      By the way, SEO work based on the book I’m reading caused my traffic to jump to 3x highest yesterday, in one big spike upwards. I’ll write a book review when I’m done.
      -k @FitOldDog

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.