I have crappy joints. I’ve known this for a long time. I had tendonitis in my left elbow in high school from playing piano too much. After much physical therapy and cortisone shots, I haven’t had problems with that for years. I had TMJ surgery in 1993, and it made a huge difference — for one thing, I can eat more than just pasta now.
But when I had Helen, my disgust with my joints resurfaced… Lifting a baby all day long every day gave me tendonitis in my right wrist by the time she was 4 months old. So I wore a splint immobilizing my thumb and wrist for several months, got cortisone shots, took Aleve, and learned to use my left hand more. And guess what happened?
Right about the time I found out I was pregnant with Alice, I developed tendonitis in my left wrist. Couldn’t take anti-inflammatories, couldn’t get cortisone shots, because I was pregnant. So I went to the orthopedic surgeon and said, “Obviously, this is caused by user error. Could I get physical therapy to learn what I’m doing wrong?” So I went to PT for about 6 weeks. Basically, my arm strength in the big muscles isn’t very good, so I put too much stress on my joints.
The PT had me lifting weights and doing lots of wrist work, and it really helped. I also have an immobilizing splint for my left wrist. I joined a gym, and while I was pregnant (before bedrest), I was actually pretty good about going and working on my arm strength. It paid off; the tendonitis was kept at bay during my pregnancy and afterwards. I’d occasionally wear one of the splints when it would flare, but flareups don’t typically last too long.
So. I’ve been walking a lot for the past 2 weeks. This morning I did 9 miles before 10am. 19,688 steps, or thereabouts. This morning it was just me and my mom, but usually one or both of the girls is with me (we decided that 9 miles was a bit much for them to endure; our usual mornings are about 3 miles… So Jerry had some Daddy time and I got a Baby Break). The new SuperStroller is great, but to turn it I have to lift the front wheel — which involves pushing down on the handle of the stroller. Which puts pressure on my weak wrists.
I wore both splints to bed last night. These things are Big Black Orthopedic Splints With Lots of Velcro and they make me feel like they should have an assault rifle attached to them. Jerry made fun of me once and said that I looked like Robocop wearing them, especially the two at once. But they both felt better when I got up.
And then, while walking this morning, I did wrist exercises to loosen the tendons for about half of the time we were out there. My right wrist feels a LOT better, and my left one is achy but better.
The single best thing for my wrists was when Helen gained more mobility and didn’t require being carried in and out of stores, picked up and put in/out of her carseat, etc. We’re getting there with Alice. And then hopefully the pain will not be as chronic.
I hate my crappy joints.