Dr Craig Sheridan is 43 years old. Not only is he an academic and lecturer at a world renowned university, he is also a dedicated family man. Having been on sabbatical for the past 7 months, Craig has faced a few big changes and challenges in 2020. He loves running, travelling, good wine and meaningful conversation. Craig has had ongoing issues with his knees since he was a teenager. He contacted OhMy.Health to tell us his inspiring story of how he went from having chronic knee pain, feeling stressed and having difficulties sleeping and exercising, to now running up to 60 miles per week painfree! We at OhMy.Health wanted to share Craig’s inspiring story. We hope that it will inspire you too, and help you to live your best life…USE the OMH exclusive code "HEALTH15" to Save 15%
CH: Craig thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story, of how – in the past three months – you have gone from having chronic knee pain, to walking and running 40 to 60 miles per week, pain free! So please tell our readers, when did your knee problems first start?
Craig: I used to run a lot as a kid – I grew up in South Africa, in a mining town called Secunda. I used to run cross-country against the tough, bare-footed Afrikaans kids. In 5th grade, as an “under 10″, my coach put me into the older “under 11″ category and I ran cross country for our province, which was South Eastern Transvaal. I would run 2.5 miles in about 16 minutes. I was always top of my age group in any event over 1000 meters, until age 13, when I started growing like a beanstalk. By the time I was 14 or 15, I had stopped running because I was in such agony with my knees. I could barely endure a car journey, sitting cramped in the backseat, because my knees were so sore! In fairness, at the age of 13, I was shortest kid in the class, and a year and a half later I was one of the tallest and had to stand in the back row for the class photo. A physio friend told me I most likely had Osgood-Schlatter disease, and whilst it went undiagnosed during my teenage years, I definitely still have the characteristic bump below the kneecap. The pain never really subsided after this. It got a lot better, but if ever I ran, I would get sore knees again.
CH: What treatments, therapies or supplements have you tried in the past Craig? Craig: I rested my knees for decades. About 20 years ago, I started taking glucosamine supplements and that helped a fair amount. I could do things again, and my knees were fine, provided I kept away from the running.
CH: Tell me how your knees were feeling, before you started doing the OhMy.Health 8 Best Knee Strengthening Exercises, and made the changes? Craig: As a working parent, finding the time to go to the gym to swim, or exercise is really hard. 2019 was particularly challenging, so I decided to try running again, as a means to relieve my stress. I did the occasional weekend park run, and tried to run during the week. After about three months of this, my knees got really painful, inside the joint itself. I then had to go to hospital for a minor hernia repair and this allowed me to rest my knees again for three months, following the hernia surgery – I wasn’t allowed to run. Then this year, with COVID-19 raging, I knew that being the ideal weight, and running or walking longer distances would be really beneficial for my immune system, so I started to run again. I managed to run reasonable distances and improved my fitness, but I continued to get painful, inflamed knees. If they were even slightly painful, I would have to stop for a week. It was frustrating because just as I would start feeling fitter I would have to rest. I also used medicated cooling Transact patches on my knees during the rest periods.
CH: What prompted you to really focus on doing the exercises and improving your knees, and what kept you motivated?
Craig: I feel like the running clears my head. I feel a lot happier after a good, hard, 30 minute run. My knees were a serious obstacle to the “feel good” element, which I so badly needed. I found the fantastic 8 Best Knee Exercises on the OhMy.Health website. I like the fact that the exercises are simple, easy to do at home, and that they are recommended by a qualified physiotherapist. I decided to do the exercises consistently. I have now done the knee strengthening exercises 3 times per week, for the past 6 weeks. I also read the article on ohmy.health about turmeric – What is the Catch with Turmeric – and so followed the recommendation that I take a turmeric supplement (with black pepper) and I am now about 6 weeks into taking that supplement too.
CH: Is there anything else you did which you think made a positive difference? Craig: I have purchased a Fitbit and am tracking my diet and exercise. I have lost about 10 pounds and am feeling fitter and healthier. I am sleeping better; and all this has happened during the Covid-19 lockdown. Fortunately, in the UK we were allowed to go out for daily exercise. I also bought a pair of top-end running shoes that were recommended for having very good cushioning. I also try as far as possible to run on the grass or dirt next to the path to reduce the stress and impact on my knees. If I feel any pain, I rub a little Voltaren gel on them before bed, and if they are more sore (more than a little) then I make a point of not running but walking at least 5km that day to keep my fitness going. I also wear a knee guard on occasion – only if I feel like a knee is slightly weak or painful.
CH: How you’re feeling now and what you’re aiming to do in the future?
Craig: I am feeling great now. I have averaged 50 miles of walking and running every week for the past 8 weeks. And it was a week ago, that I realised I am generally not experiencing pain in my knees anymore! I am able to consistently run more than 3 miles whenever I want to, and generally I can now run 3 miles in less than 25 minutes. I have found that I have far fewer headaches, and my hayfever is reduced. I run about 4 days a week, and I find I feel a bit grumpy if I do not get to run, but I make sure to walk at least 3.5 miles on the days I don’t run. The exercise has made me a better person – better able to cope with my stress, and be more present for my family. I go running with my daughter on Saturday mornings and this is a really special bonding time with her – poor girl is sometimes very unwillingly dragged along, but after the run, she is also happy! I also feel more confident to face the stress of life – at 43 having a heart attack is something, which could happen! Whilst I still lie in bed at night and worry (for example about Covid, lockdown and whether I can get home to South Africa or not) I am no longer worried that worrying or stress may bring on a heart attack. That means that worrying no longer worries me… 😉 And I cannot wait to run a park run when the world “normalises”and beat my best time!
We at OhMy.Health loved Craig’s inspiring story. It was so great to hear about how the exercise videos, and the information and advice we provide on our website have made such a positive impact on Craig’s life. We would love to hear your inspriring story too!
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