“Ligaments, Tendons and Joints –Oh My”

1948-50s-145

At five I gave no thoughts to my rotator cuffs as you can see from the above photo. I took my knees, elbows, hips, and shoulders completely for granted. I barely knew they were there as I stood on my head, did cartwheels, climbed our tree and hung from bars. So it came as a very rude shock to me when the first of these–one of my knees–voiced its displeasure when I was in my early 40’s. My first visit to the sports doctor(so named to lessen the shame of the baby boomer woman with hurting knees) said “yup.” What did he mean? He said after 40 these things happened. I should have listened to the plural of things, not thing as in my one knee. But I did the knee exercises until I felt fine and gave no further thought to my joints.

In my 50’s my shoulders began to speak to me and register their annoyance at my posture and my weak upper arms. Physical therapy helped and I forgot about them for a long time. By my late 60’s my tendons, ligaments and joints played an ensemble serenade of creaks and pops. It was either retire to my easy chair or face reality. I chose reality. I have been going to the gym and working with a trainer for four years. I am now familiar with all my bodily idiosyncrasies and address them regularly with movement.

Now that my gym has shut down I am working out at home. My mantra seems to be “a body at rest tends to remain at rest.” Without my gym pals and my trainer, my tendons, ligaments and joints lure me with the promise that I really can just stay in my reclining chair. They aren’t going anywhere, so why should I?

But they lie! Despite their intense resistance to movement, I am carrying on and exercising at home. Fortunately I talk to my trainer twice a week and do a custom exercise routine at least three times a week. Do I love it? Absolutely not. But at the moment my joints are quiet and I want to keep them that way.

37 thoughts on ““Ligaments, Tendons and Joints –Oh My”

  1. My joints started to dislocate in nasty ways–the big ones like knees hurt beyond words when it happens, and smaller ones like big toes or elbows hurt, but not blindingly, until they go back in place. Exercise has been the only thing that helps–stronger muscles keep things in place for me, so I dance around in front of my computer a lot and rock a lot in bed while reading, since that tones a lot of muscles. Good luck with yours.

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  2. My joints are affected by low pressure weather systems. Before it rains, my finger and toe joints become really painful, almost a burning sensation. And considering how much rain we get in Beetley, they hurt a lot! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. I’m impressed that you’re still exercising. I’ve been diligent (for the first time in my life) with going to the gym (4-5 days per week for almost three years.) I haven’t been doing it because I love it so much, but I do feel better. Now with the gym shut down, I haven’t gone the past two weeks. 😒 I never thought I’d say this, but I miss it!

    In the interim, I’ve resorted to long walks, but they just don’t do it for me. There are a bunch of other folks out and about walking, but I find it extremely odd how many don’t even say hello.

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  4. Well done you- I need to do more, as you say “a body at rest tends to remain at rest.”…absolutely it does, and I’m really noticing declining muscle power and balance issues.

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  5. It’s best to ‘keep it all moving’ as much as we can. My knees sometimes complain, but I take Glucosamine regularly which seems to take the edge off any pain. In my fifties I had a frozen shoulder which was eased by an incredibly painful cortisone injection. I definitely do not want another one, so I do shoulder stretches and Pilates exercises for 20 minutes every morning. Yes, it’s easier to sit in our armchairs, but if you don’t use it you lose it!

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  6. Exercise is boring – that’s my main gripe with it. But needs must.
    I walk the dogs, occasionally have a brief (very brief) trot on the walker and work standing at my laptop by a window that looks out onto a field. (Not a lot happens in the field. Once it’s planted it just grows, but not fast enough to distract. Maybe a pheasant might walk past.)
    we’re told that sitting is bad for us, but if you’re working standing up, watch out for plantar fasciitis. Seems you can’t win either way.
    Personally I’m into supplements. Green-lipped mussel and turmeric seem to have helped. (They’ve helped the old dog too, and that can’t just be psychosomatic.)

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  7. You go, girl! I should listen to you, Elizabeth. You should see me try to keep up with my 30-something year old teaching partner when she does yoga with the kids. Sad.

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  8. I love going to the gym, to yoga, hiking. It’s really hard now that we are quarantined. Im not doing as much as I should, but I also know that I need to use it or lose it! Stay with it!

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    1. Thanks. Just as at the gym the first 10 minutes are the hardest. Since my pals aren’t here I have to encourage myself for that time until the feel good kicks in. Put on some music and move!

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  9. I completely understand Elizabeth!
    My body is constantly trying to convince me to stay still, that it’s okay to just sit for a rest, a long restful treat. After all I’m in pain it cries out to me but I can’t listen to it as I too need to move which helps to manage the pain to some extent!
    Bless you,
    Jennifer

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