“I can’t exercise anymore. You see, I have arthritis.”

Dr. Sean Rockett had many patients enter his exam room, look him straight in the face and say that.

On further questioning, Dr. Rockett finds the patients are usually referring to hip or knee arthritis—the most common forms of arthritis—and he proceeds to ask about their limitations. Most people say they can’t run or walk long distances anymore. He then asks questions about upper-extremity disabilities and abdominal or back issues, and he finds that most people don’t have problems in these areas. he then concocts workouts and asks the patients to try them, get the heart rate up and see how they feel afterward.

He’ll also have CrossFit athletes come in and ask about modifications when they are in too much pain from box jumping, jerking or running. When he starts talking about modifying movements and workouts, sometimes it hits people hard.

Dr. Rockett’s goal as an orthopedic surgeon is to help people be comfortable and capable of functioning in all different aspects of life. He wants to avoid surgery until it is necessary. He usually tells people they will know when they are ready for surgery based on pain, lifestyle adjustments and disability.

Arthritis… back pain… hip, knee pain… These issues definitely limit your mobility, however, here is the single best piece of advice we can give you: DON’T STOP MOVING!

The best way for the body to get better is to stay active. Staying isolated, away from the gym while binge eating on ice cream won’t make you feel better and won’t help you make progress on other things you could be working on. Don’t give up.

In his CrossFit Journal article, Dr. Rockett will explain how CrossFit exercise can help you and your joints stay healthy—even people who have been diagnosed with arthritis.