View Full Version : Arthritis

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Arashi Kumomura
05-12-2009, 01:18 AM
One of my biggest Aikido fears is that I might develop arthritis in my hands (and possibly toes). It's not guaranteed, but it seems to be common in my family. Do you think this will hamper or weaken my Aikido?

I'm only 20 years old, so I think (and hope) I've got a little while before I have to worry about my joints weakening or for training to become painful. But I can already feel chronic soreness in my fingers and I have a nasty habit of cracking my fingers when I'm not paying attention.

Currently, my grip is stronger than it's ever been and it isn't by any means weak. I'm hoping that I won't ever have arthritis and that if I do, Aikido will prevent it from becoming as bad as it could.

So, any thoughts or advice?

Thanks in advance.

05-12-2009, 07:02 AM
take it for what its worth i have no idea what im talking about

it seems to me that if anything aikido would help... you get alot of stretching in and from what i read from another thread about older people with back problems not giving them problems while they studied in aikido (on the mat or off) it could work the same with you... now do yourself a favor and reread my first line ;)
hope someones gotta good answer fer ya bud

05-12-2009, 07:23 AM
Meh. You've just opened up a whole can of metaphysical worms about whether a physical disability limits your aikido. As someone with rheumatoid arthritis -- which I'd swap for your osteoarthritis in a heartbeat -- I get annoyed by those who suggest, Pollyanna-esque, that of course a physical ailment is no limit. This is simplistic, and frankly condescending and insulting to those who have to deal with disability. The more complex truth is that people live their lives with less than perfect bodies, that everybody's body breaks down eventually, and that while it's idiotic to claim that disability imposes no limits, they're not hard and fast ones. When I was practicing karate, there was a guy in the dojo who had a congenital hip deformity. Only a crap-monger would claim that it didn't limit him, but on the other hand, it didn't rule out his practicing karate. Now, someone who injured a hip, or who developed arthritis in a hip, would be in a different situation. It's always a big question whether a person in that situation will adjust to their new reality and discover how, and to what degree, they can continue to train.

Janet Rosen
05-12-2009, 09:53 AM
Having arthritis will affect your aikido negatively BUT learning aikido and training in aikido when you are still young and healthy will teach you valuable lessons about body movement, relaxing into "benign" pain, etc . I would suggest that paying attention both to muscle strengthening (to support the joints) and proper post-exercise stretching (to keep limber) would be helpful.

As a middle aged person with some severely arthritic joints, I find that aikido movements when well done - that is, with proper attention to posture, weight shifts, etc - are a help to keep me supple and moving, and training within my limits usually makes me feel better, not worse.

Joseph Madden
05-16-2009, 12:28 PM
This may seem like an advertisement for "Aikido can save you from the pain and immobility of arthritis" but since I've started training in the last 8 years I no longer need any medication. I have arthritis of the left hip joint. I've had it since I was 18. Nothing to be done. Specialist at the time told me it was either genetic or as a result of a secondary infection. I have probably 1/2 the mobility in the joint than most people. I have a slight limp if you look close enough. I am a nidan in Yoshinkan. Aikido saved my stomach, my wallet and most of all part of my sanity.

Notice I didn't say ALL my sanity. I study Yoshinkan after all.

Dan Richards
05-18-2009, 09:11 PM
Currently, my grip is stronger than it's ever been and it isn't by any means weak. I'm hoping that I won't ever have arthritis and that if I do, Aikido will prevent it from becoming as bad as it could.
Hi Storm, I wonder why having a "strong grip" is important to you? What does having a strong grip allow you to do in your life?

05-27-2009, 03:33 PM
As someone who's going into medicine...

Osteoarthritis, like most disease processes, is one part genetic and one part environmental. Exercise (particularly weight-bearing exercise), as well as proper diet, can actually stave off arthritis. Should you do all of that and get it anyways, there are drugs that can augment your diet/exercise regimen and help restore bone density.

If anything, I would say that your predicament is one calling for good ukemi: there's no way to avoid joint stress, but being able to move with nage and feel their energy will hopefully allow you to slowly strengthen your joints rather than stress them.