Gordon Ramsay probably ran five miles a day working in the kitchen of his restaurant, but all those steps have taken a toll.
The bombastic chef and television celebrity blew out his knee while running in London and underwent an operation to fix it.
That’s when he was shocked to learned he had advancing arthritis.
“It was fucking painful,” he said of his knee injury. “And when I got the X-rays back, the doctor said, ‘You’ve got arthritis in your knee.’ I’d never heard that word in relation to me before.”
Arthritis afflicts most people as they age, but a number of factors determine when and how severe the affliction will be. Treatments are available, but they only help so much.
Ramsay, 55, said he got some advice from his doctor.
“He told me I needed to start slowing down. It was a case of ‘Imagine you’ve got 1.5 million steps to run over the next 30 years . . . pace yourself.’ “
Arthritis is the swelling and tenderness of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The most common types are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Osteoarthritis causes cartilage — the hard, slippery tissue that covers the ends of bones where they form a joint — to break down.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease in which the immune system attacks the joints, beginning with the lining of joints.
Treatment differs for both, but the main goal is the same; to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.
Ramsay appears to be suffering from the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis involves wear-and-tear damage to your joint’s cartilage — the hard, slick coating on the ends of bones where they form a joint.
Cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and allows nearly frictionless joint motion, but enough damage can result in bone grinding directly on bone, which causes pain and restricted movement.
This wear and tear can occur over many years, or it can be hastened by a joint injury. Ramsay suffered from both.
Years of working in a kitchen on concrete floors puts pressure on your knees. Ramsay was also an avid runner.
He told the UK Sun newspaper he injured himself “bolting up” a hill in London’s Richmond Park.
He damaged the meniscus, a C-shaped piece of tough, rubbery cartilage that acts as a shock absorber between your shinbone and thighbone.
It can be torn if you suddenly twist your knee while bearing weight on it. Usually a torn meniscus requires surgery to repair.
Athletes, particularly those who play contact sports, are at risk for meniscus tears. However, anyone at any age can tear a meniscus, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
When people talk about torn cartilage in the knee, they are usually referring to a torn meniscus.
The TV star admitted the diagnosis wasn’t something he wanted to hear. The doctor “showed me pictures, and you just don’t want to hear you’ve got arthritis in your knee.”
Those who are younger than 30 are most likely to tear their meniscus while playing a sport or participating in physical activity, according to sports-health.com.
For those over 30, the meniscus becomes less resilient, and tears are increasingly connected to wear and tear, or osteoarthritis. Repetitive motion is often a factor.
Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, and there is no cure. But it can be managed with a combination of weight control, exercise and medication.
About 27 million Americans are currently living with osteoarthritis. That number is expected to soar by 2030 to 67 million as baby boomers age.
Losing weight can dramatically reduce additional stress on joints. As a rule of thumb, each pound of weight puts six pounds of pressure on the knees.
At some point, a doctor may recommend a knee replacement. But it is possible to prolong or prevent that eventuality through weight loss and exercise.
Ramsay has put a premium on fitness, especially during lockdown, after his own dad died of a heart attack at 53. in his early 50s he’s mindful of staying in shape – and alive – for his family.
“I’m a workaholic and training is my release. When lockdown struck I didn’t want to sit there, put weight on and veg out,” he said.