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From Athletics to Arthritis: Osteoarthritis at Age 28

Taking the Long View and Staying Active

Ten years and two serious ankle surgeries later, I’m still trying to adapt. But I’ve made great strides!

I still consider myself pretty young and active. So when it comes to my ankle, I’ve learned to take the long view to help keep it all in perspective. I have a lot of good years ahead of me, and I want to stay as healthy and as active as possible while being realistic about what the future holds for my ankle and my health as a whole.

RELATED: 9 Secrets Only People Living With Arthritis Pain Know

A big fear of mine is that if I’m too sedentary, my ankle is going to get worse much more quickly. I enjoy backpacking, working out, taking my dog for walks, and generally getting out and about. But now I have to be mindful about how my ankle feels and how active I can realistically be without causing too much soreness later that day or in the next few days. Pacing myself is now very important — and one of the biggest things I’ve learned so far.

Another big adjustment was going from being an athlete who always pushed myself to become better to being someone in his late twenties who had to take things much slower.

What Helps Me Move Forward

It wasn’t until a few years ago when I started being more proactive about managing my osteoarthritis that I realized that there area lotof younger people who have this condition. I quickly realized that it helped to talk with people my age — and even younger — about our challenges, experiences, and what lies ahead. There’s a feeling of comfort and reassurance in those conversations that doesn't happen with a doctor or someone who is older.

RELATED: 6 Life-Changing Tips From People Living With Arthritis

One of the benefits (if there is one) of getting osteoarthritis at such a young age is that I’ve become much more patient when trying a new treatment. Whether it’s a diet, exercise, or a new mindset, I’ve learned that if something doesn’t work, that’s okay. That means I can move on and try to see if a new treatment might work. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it’ll work for me. Being able to experiment and add strategies that work for my treatment plan — or to move on to another option — is important in finding out what works for me.

The Benefits of a Solid Support System

Dealing with osteoarthritis at such a young age isn’t fun. There are a lot of uncertainties not only about what the next 5 to 10 years will hold, but also about what’ll happen over the next 25 to 30!

Thankfully, I’ve been able to take on all the ups and down with a determined mind and positive attitude. I’ve also been able to create a routine that allows me stay active yet not overdo it.

Most importantly, I have a good support system. From family and friends, to people I’ve talked with only over Skype or via the Internet, everyone is very helpful. And I think that’s one of the biggest assets you can have when dealing with a condition where there are so many unanswered questions.

Ryan Rankin, 38, lives in San Francisco and is a former basketball player and sometimes backpacker. He recently started writing about what it's like being young and active while living with osteoarthritis at From Athletics to Arthritis.

Last Updated:3/3/2016
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Date: 14.12.2018, 12:33 / Views: 32142