*This is a sponsored post. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.
I have had joint problems for so many years, and I have wanted to write about what it’s like living with osteoarthritis in your 30’s for a very long time...
Living With Osteoarthritis in Your 30’s
Before I go on, I’d like to say that my experiences with doctors, consultants and anyone else involved in this subject of my life has been utterly diabolical. These are my opinions and thoughts, and I’m going to be completely honest about everything, but it doesn’t mean it will be positive and full of light.
I first noticed problems with my joints in my hands and knees when I was in my mid-twenties. I went to the doctor and hospital and I remember two things they told me:
- I wasn’t as young as I thought and it’s normal to have aches and pains in your 20’s
- Unless my legs had given way beneath me then I wouldn’t need any help from them
Having suffered with spasms, stiff joints, crackling knees and pain, this was not promising, not at all. I continued to go back to the doctors with these problems and each time over the past 10-12 years I have been told to basically get on with it.
At one point I was given made-to-measure inserts for my shoes, but with the different kinds of shoes in my wardrobe it wasn’t long before I just stopped using them. I accept this as my own doing, but in my defence I did persist for a few years, it just didn’t change anything for me.
In recent years I’ve had problems with my two big toes. The pain has been unbelievable and I ended up doing a bit of research before seeing the consultant. I went to my appointment armed with information and the doctor agreed with my ‘google diagnosis’. I had hallux rigidus.
However, at the same appointment my knee problems were dismissed. This was after not being able to walk after moving house (I can’t do stairs whilst carrying heavy loads). I left the appointment in shock. I’d been discharged. I felt hopeless. I had been referred to another doctor for my toes, but as for my feet, nope…
I went for an x-ray and weeks and weeks later I had heard nothing. Each time I called the receptionist I was greeted with rude and hostile attitudes and a refusal to send me the results. When the results arrived, many months later, I was in shock and pretty furious. Firstly, they’d sent me the results of one foot, not the other, and secondly it said there on the page, in black and white, ‘osteoarthritis’. I remember being so upset and angry about it, dismissed time and time again by all these doctors, yet here it was in black and white.
I didn’t know what to do. I felt let down and alone. But I knew I had to do something…
I’m not saying I needed to claim for medical negligence, but if it had been a life threatening condition I would have had no choice. After speaking to my mother I filed a complaint. I explained how let down I felt, how the results were exactly as I’d predicted and how dangerous and life changing this situation would have been if I’d been a patient with a life-threatening illness. Nobody should have to wait that long for results.
A week or so later the consultant called me and, if I’m being honest, was pretty rude. Eventually the doctor admitted it was osteoarthritis and that no doubt it was in my knees too. I was so shocked. Nothing further was said and a few months later I attended an appointment for my toes.
Apparently the hallux rigidus wasn’t as far gone as it could have been, so I was given a few exercises and sent on my way.
A year or so later and my bad toe is better but my good toe is bad. Both cause me pain. Both knees cause me pain. But I guess I’m just used to it…
I could go back I guess, but it would just been the same old, same old. I definitely feel that if you’re young (younger than 50) then you’re expected to get on with it. I do worry about the future, but I think a big focus for me will be on the following:
- weight loss
I’ve seen a big improvement after moving to a vegan diet, the pain is still there but it feels more bearable than before and one toe rarely hurts (only over the past few months).
Have you been diagnosed with osteoarthritis? What support have you received?