Two steps forward, one step back…

July 12, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Posted in arthrits, arthrits, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pai, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) | 10 Comments
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Well, yes, the knee flare was completely over … for a few days. I was just getting back into the swing of things, gradually building back up the length of my lunchtime walks from a few hundred yards to half a mile, to three-quarters of a mile … thinking I’d soon be back to the mile-and half … and then I woke up in the middle of last Friday night thinking ‘Ouch!’ I’m telling myself it’s not really flaring this time … I haven’t decided yet whether I’m lying to myself.

I certainly don’t want another dose of prednisolone just yet… if they’d even give me one, which I doubt. Having said I never have side effects, Carla happened to mention that sleeplessness and irritability are major side effects of pred, and guess what… I had a really sleepless and irritable week while I was on it – I just failed to attribute it to the pred. Now it all makes sense. And OMG, the night sweats!! I had no idea that was a side effect and I get hot flushes anyway so I just thought, ‘Coo, bad hot flushes, much worse than usual!’ I was slightly worried that this was more than hot flushes as the ‘sweats’ part was a whole lot more dramatic …again, I hadn’t realised this is a common side effect of the pred.

Now I’m still ALL for the steroids – the side effects, now I realise  that’s what they were, were horrible, but the flare was much, much worse. The side effects I personally experienced were definitely the lesser of two evils and the pred let me carry on with my life and work, which I couldn’t have done without it. However, having said that, it does make the thought of another does quite unappealing if it can be avoided.

This time round the knee’s not hot, it’s not especially swollen and it’s not actually madly painful … it’s stiff but bendable, so really quite different to the definite flare I recently experienced.

Remember those knee-strengthening exercises I was doing, so that if I flared again I would have strength in the surrounding muscles and hopefully come out of it faster? No? Well you wouldn’t because I forgot to post about them. Unfortunately I have also forgotten to do them for the last few months, which is a pity really because I suspect that’s what the problem is now. As a horribly unfit person, having a bit over a week practically off my feet  means I do need to build up those muscles etc. again and I think the minor pain and stiffness I’m experiencing is probably all about that.

So, spend goodness knows how long fighting for a doc appointment, to be told, if I’m lucky, that they’ll refer me to physio, which will take six weeks minimum, by which time I hope I’ll have recovered anyway, or just carry on and hope? I’m going for the latter at the moment. Wish me luck!



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  1. Polly-You’re telling my story! I was off the pred for 6 days and woke this Sunday with the worst pain and swelling in my knee. Truth be told it’s in my wrists and hands as well. So I had to go back on track pred and yes, sleepliness, irritability are definitely side effects.

    So I’m wondering now if this is more than a flare and perhaps the biologic has stopped working. I know we can build anti bodies to the biologics and I’ve been on enbrel for 8 years and in remission for most of that time. *sigh*

  2. I understand your knee flare up all too well. I had r.a. for 13 yrs. before my first two knee flare ups, 9 months apart. I had to use a walker for 2 weeks on each knee, but I didnt have insurance then so I made up my own p.t. plan and finally got back to 3 miles a day on my walking schedule. Dont give up hope, your healing is coming and you will be back to normal soon. Be careful with stress and emotions, that is what caused mine to flare up after 2 yrs. of severe emotional stress, so I’ve learned to do what I can to stay calm and relaxed, in spite of it all!! Love your post in the Ozarks!! Diana

  3. Oh, Polly, I’m sorry. I am hopeful that since this event is different than your previous flare that it’s really just overworking your knee and not a real flare. Here’s wishing that all your flippers get back to flipping soon!

  4. If this helps- Water is easier to move in. If you have access to a pool, just walk in the water. Make a cloth bag filled with dry beans or rice and put it in the freezer. It will form around your knee and is easy to grab from the freezer when you need it.

    And do your exercises. :~) (I am not so good about doing mine) maybe you can do them for me!

    Feel better.

  5. Oh dear – I really hope yours ISN’T the biologic stopping working! Hopefully just a temporary blip. Keep us posted and good luck!

  6. Thanks Diana – my flares don’t seem to be especially related to stress or strong emotions – more the other way round, they bring both of those things, but prior to a flare I’m rarely especially stressed. I’ve even had one in the midst of a lovely, relaxing holiday! I hope you’re keeping well now – and I think my knee is on the mend (again) today!

  7. Thanks Carla – and you may well have a point about overworking, so today I’ve done my 1 mile, and yesterday I didn’t have a walk at all, but I’m going to give it a week of getting and being better before i go back to the 1.5 miles and then try to build it up more.

  8. Karen, funnily enough I was having exactly the same conversation with a physio friend moments before I read your email. He was suggesting swimming too – or at least getting in a pool, maybe aqua-aerobics or something. Trouble is I have the usual overweight female lack of desire to be seen dead or alive in a swimming costume! Also there ain’t no pool in this ‘ere town (aka over-sized village) which makes it an extra effort. Good idea about frozen beans/rice though. I do have an ice pack ready in the freezer but of course that’s not flexible … or not until it’s melted! 🙂 LOL re exercises – you’re right – we should both be doing our exercises … but I’ll wait until I’m a little better before I start them again I think!

  9. Jeez, Penguin! You need to tell that knee to just cool it, already!

    I’m so sorry you’re forced to cope with yet another flare, m’dear. It’s just maddening, and knowing that treatment of any sort will take a lot of time to arrange and carry out just adds to the frustration. Here’s hoping your locum will take quick action and give you some relief from the pain–and that this time, the pred will cause less or no insomnia, irritability, and sweats. Sending hugs, patience, and comfort across the Pond to you. 🙂

  10. lol, thanks Wren … Please send over as much patience as you can spare ’cause I’m a bit short of it right now! On the bright side, knee much better today without anymore pred … HURRAH! Your empathy re doc frustrations is appreciated! 😃

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