Arthritis advice?

Discussion in 'Woodturning Health & Safety' started by Judy Stone, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Hi,
    I've been turning for just over a year, usually 1-2x/week w an incredibly generous mentor.
    When I recently tried turning more frequently, I've gotten disabling knee pain. Pretty sure it is from trying to sway my body for getting a smooth cut, and this => stress on the lateral (outside) of the knees.
    Sorry this isn't a better description...
    Wondered if anyone had any suggestions for aging joints (other than forget about smooth, sweeping cuts).
    Thank you.
    Judy
     
  2. John Torchick

    John Torchick

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    Turn while sitting! Or limit your time at the lathe. My wife has sciatic nerve problems in her back. When her back starts, to hurt, she backs off from whatever she is doing.
     
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  3. barry shaffer

    barry shaffer

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    Judy ,
    I have some arthritis problems also -I found that the floor I was standing on -concrete - was a factor and I added anti fatigue mats . Better than that ,for me , was to buy knee

    compression sleeves , which added stability when I made lateral movements . UFlex athletic knee compression sleeves were about 20$ each -but has added more shop

    time to my day . Also what John said -if you can't sit -I brace on the lathe ways or just take a break . I also have used analgesics like tylenol or ibuprofen to extend my

    turning time also -but thats a personal choice . Good luck -it may just be a need to strengthen your quads -I had to go thru that too .
     
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  4. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    Welcome to the AAW forum. BTW, I've enjoyed reading your Scientific American blog.

    Are you moving your feet? It can be stressful on your knees if you are moving your body with your feet planted in place as well as putting you off balance. Sometimes we must make compromises in our turning methods if there are mobility issues. Many turners have lower back and other joint pain. I am recovering from rotator cuff surgery and will have back surgery later this month. All this has greatly limited my turning for the past year, but I do what I can without unrealistic expectations that I can turn back the clock.
     
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  5. hockenbery

    hockenbery AAW Advisor Staff Member

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    Hi Judy,
    No specific experience with your problem

    often problems are caused or exacerbated by poor posture and poor foot support.

    Avoid leaning over - keep your back straight - correct lathe height reduces leaning.
    My foot wear of choice are those made for hiking - Good footwear helps the back and legs, as well as the feet.
    A fatigue mat helps too.

    I often wear hiking sandals for comfort and support. sandals give no protection from a dropped log or sharp tools rolling off the Bench. For me the comfort outweighs the risk.
     
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  6. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I remembered an old thread HERE about floor mats to provide cushioning for tired old bones. Go to post #35 by Rob Wallace on page 2 to see what I think is the best recommendation.
     
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  7. barry shaffer

    barry shaffer

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    I reread your post this morning and thought about the disabling nature of your pain . It might be a good thing to have that pain professionally
    evaluated . You might consider an evaluation from your primary care physician or a PT evaluation . You could also have a friend (mentor)
    take a cell phone video of your movements at the lathe to see if you are overextended or over rotated . Taking the phone video to a PT or MD may help
    with speedier diagnosis and or treatment options .If you have already had an arthritis diagnosis with a MD -that could be a great place to start .
    Smooth sweeping cuts are great as we dance with the lathe but there are many works from the lathe, made with less than smooth sweeping cuts - in truth thats how we all started . best of luck in getting some solution to your knee pain
     
  8. Dave Fritz

    Dave Fritz

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    We know we should move the body, not the arms when making a cut. However there are those of use that simply can't move the body like that. I'm due for total knee replacement on both knees so until then I have to either sit down or keep myself from getting over the knee to the point it gives out. The result is less than desirable cuts and a lot more scraping and sandpaper.

    I still can enjoy the lathe and making things.
     
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  9. Gerald Lawrence

    Gerald Lawrence

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    I had some problems with my knees (still do) and the clinic I went to did ultra sound and diagnosed arthritis with no joint damage. He put me on physical therapy for 2 weeks. They gave me some excercises to do 3-4 times a week and that helps. Note all the other suggestions apply also: Do not stand in one place over 10 minutes, good shoes, mats to stand on.

    View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T3qKHLP8fVo

    Note there are many videos like this one . I do leg lifts (2 types) , stretches, partial squat (about 1/3 way down) and partial bend on one leg ( PT uses a stair for this one). Also use the Airdyne bike daily.
     
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  10. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    Attempting any new activity for any length of time can cause physical aches and pains. You are using different muscles that do not get used for the specific task for long periods of time. I have cross braces on several of my lathes and I will rest one foot on the cross brace to give my back a rest on occasion. Taking a short break and stretching your arms, legs and back will also help with these types of issues. It usually takes several weeks for the body to accustom itself to new activities, turn for shorter periods until your body is used to the physical aspect of using these muscles for long lengths of time.
     
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  11. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Thanks! I haven't tried turning while sitting. A bit hard to imagine, but I'll try with a bar stool. Appreciate your suggestion.
     
  12. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    I'll check those out. Bought some really inexpensive ones this week and, while they help, they also chafe a lot. Did turn a bowl by taking more breaks this weekend. Thanks.
     
  13. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    I've seen a bunch of docs and PTs--no one has figured it out. Very frustrating. Am working now with a trainer who has done wonders for me until we hit this set back. Yes, I've asked my husband to video me to see if we can spot the offending movement. Thx for the suggestions.
     
  14. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Yes, clear I should not look for those smooth, flowing cuts so much and move more, even if it means more sanding. Glad you are keeping at it. Good luck w the knee replacements!
     
  15. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Good suggestions. Yes, I need to build up to this and overdid it in my enthusiasm.
     
  16. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Thank you, Bill! SciAm had a coup and I moved to writing for Forbes a couple of years ago if you ever want to take a peak:
    www.forbes.com/sites/judystone Keeps me off the streets, and I like trying to debunk some of the scaremongering stories, like the one on germy sponges.

    In any case, I think I was trying to sway and not move my feet, in order to get a smoother cut, which is what some folks had suggested was the right way to turn. Clearly not so good for me.

    Good luck w your upcoming surgery, too.

    I'm overwhelmed that so many people took the time to respond and give suggestions to this newbie! What a kind, welcoming community. Greatly appreciated.
     
  17. Mike Johnson

    Mike Johnson

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    One other tip, when learning a new craft is to relax while turning.
    Too many new turners will tense up while using new tools and techniques.
    Learn the proper use of the tool and relax while you are working the billet on the lathe.
    Tensing up your grip will transfer into your arms and shoulders over time, this may be
    a contributing factor. A new turner will get a good catch and they usually tighten up on
    the tool waiting for the next catch, this can fatigue a new turner quickly.
     
  18. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Relax??? Novel idea. ;>)
    I'm sometimes holding on to the gouge for dear life.

    And I haven't tried hollowing for some time now, but imagine there's got to be a better way than this awkward position.
    Thanks.
     

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  19. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

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    I think you're right that there has to be a better way. :D

    If the lathe could be turned so that you're standing at or near the end so that you could have both of your feet on the floor, I think that you would find that more comfortable.
     
  20. Judy Stone

    Judy Stone

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    Yeah, we're going to try that...but that is why I haven't done any hollowing for a while....I love lidded boxes, though find them very hard to get the fit right. My friend loved his gift, though. (and it is one of the weirder ones I've made, but he likes bold).

    I'm signed up to take a course w Jennifer Shirley in October; her work is stunning.
     

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