Lebby Eyres |

Rowing with arthritis

Developing arthritis needn’t mean the end of your rowing career. In fact, as Dr Richard Seah tells Lebby Eyres, getting in a boat is a good antidote to the aches and pains that come with the condition

Osteoarthritis – where the cartilage in joints starts to wear down over time leading to changes in the bone – causes joints to become painful and stiff. To find out what this means for rowers, British Rowing spoke to Dr Richard Seah, a consultant in Sport and Exercise Medicine (SEM) at the Institute of Sport, Exercise and Health (ISEH) and Fellow of the Faculty of Sport and Exercise Medicine UK. He was part of the medical team for rowing, canoe sprints and volleyball at the London 2012 Summer Olympics, and specialises in rowing, among other sports.

How does arthritis affect our performance?

“Osteoarthritis decreases the range of motion,” Dr Seah said. “A lot of patients experience pain when they get to the end of range of their joint. They get inflammation and pain around the joint which restricts them. People refer to it as wear and tear, but we know there is probably a genetic component too. It can affect people of all ages, but most typically from mid-40s onwards.


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