Competing with Arthritis? Are you Mad?

By: Craig Vernon
Used with permission.

Craig Vernon has completed 3 ironman triathlons after a high femoral
osteotomy due to osteoarthritis of the hip. He will represent Australia,
for the second time, at the World Xterra Championships in Maui in October

Article Written in 2010

Does this sound familiar? Maybe it’s true. Maybe you are mad or perhaps very stubborn. Stopping would be too easy. Give it all away, stop training, sleep in of a morning. Have breakfast and read the newspaper, gain a little or a lot of weight and live happily for ever after. It sounds like a bit of a fairytale, doesn’t it? We train and compete because it is in our blood. Energetic individuals need to release the energy that they seem to have, and sport is one good way of doing this. I can recall when I was younger that one of my good friends, Craig Chopping, would always accuse me of being too active. This was during my teens and twenties when all I did was surf. If the surf was good I would surf up to 4 times a day. I would surf until I dropped. Those were good days. Anyway, I had no other sport at that time and if the surf was no good I would start to go stir crazy as I had all this nervous energy being stored up. A fortnight into a “wave drought” you would see the die hards pounce on anything over 12″ and then the only other outlets were night time activities which involved imbibing quantities of substances that were sure to accelerate dementia. As you can see, if you didn’t find good ways of using this energy, bad ways could be found. If this sounds like you. That is, after not training for a while you start to go crazy then the question is not are you mad, but do you really have a choice?

Your doctor has probably given you the “stop everything” instructions, especially if you have arthritis in either your hips or knees. This is hardly a satisfactory solution, although it is probably the best advice from the point of view of preventing further wear and tear on the affected joint. It also probably takes into consideration the professional liability that your doctor might attract if he advised you otherwise (don’t take this too cynically, I’d advise the same if I were in the same position). What this view doesn’t take into proper consideration are all the other factors of your life and your goals, the things from which you derive pleasure, or what gives you the quality of life that you are seeking. Only you can decide that for yourself. For example, I had to make a choice between whether it is worth risking aggravating the arthritis in my hip and completing the goal of becoming an ironman. I took the risk and I feel that there has been little deterioration as a result and I achieved my dream, but I made the decision that if I did cause deterioration and I needed a hip replacement or worse yet, ended up in a wheel chair, it would have been worth it. So if you are going to be stubborn about this then you’d better aquaint yourself with the risks, so that you make a properly informed choice and when it comes time to pay the price there are no disillusions about the maximum cost. The gain should have been worth it. If you are looking at it any other way, then turn back now.

The purpose of cycotec is to help you manage your arthritis and maybe prevent it from becoming a disability. There are a range of options. I’ll start with the easiest.
1. change the way you train
2. medical and nutritional supplements
3. equipment changes
4. change sports
5. surgery
6. give up, go back to university and do a masters or Ph.D

I have ordered these along the lines of cheapest first although the cost of the various options may vary and other personal preferences may prioritise this list differently, after all we are all different. I will discuss these options in more detail below.

Change the Way You Train

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