Middle-aged health problems open thread!

About a month ago I promised an open thread for (non-life-threatening) health problems!  Here it is.  Middle-aged folk, gather round and complain and share and provide obnoxious unsolicited suggestions for others!  Tell us about how your friend of a friend had something similar and what they did!  (Note, you do not have to be middle-aged to participate.  This is just something some of us do instead of talking about the weather for small talk once we get to a certain age.)

Here’s mine:

My right FOOT.  OMG.  So, about 3 months ago, I started waking up around 5:38 every morning with the bottom of my right foot itching like crazy.  It wouldn’t stop until I walked around or just got up.  Scratching didn’t help much but squishing it around did.  I tried two different athletes foot cremes but neither did anything.  When I went in for my well-woman visit, my gyn suggested it was a nerve issue and to see a podiatrist, but I don’t want to go in again with the students in town and new covid strains spreading etc.  I thought maybe because I’m walking around barefoot so much on our hard floors since that’s the easiest form of exercise.  Then about a month ago, I decided to try walking with my slippers that have arch support and oh boy that was such a bad idea. It felt like plantar fasciitis again but owie.  Again, only my right foot.  But… the 5:38am itching stopped.  So, there’s something wrong with my right leg and foot.

I also had a lot of sitting problems– a blocked gland (hot baths worked) and hemorrhoids and … a pimple (!) on my gluteal area.  For those I bought a purple pillow.  Which kept slipping off the aeron chair until DH found his velcro strap stash and now I have it velcroed in.  It helps somewhat, but I should probably be using the standing desk except, my right foot, you know?

So… mostly the foot thing.  I hate it because it’s so hard to exercise when you’re afraid of hurting your foot!  I dream about swimming sometime but the pool isn’t even open even if I weren’t worried about the trump supporting covid deniers in the neighborhood.

Share your health problems!

50 Responses to “Middle-aged health problems open thread!”

  1. Miser Mom Says:

    For gluteal pimples (which discovered me in my training-on-the-bike for the IronMan days), diaper rash cream works well. In fact, I learned that many bicyclists use a brand inelegantly called “butt cream”. Although I don’t need it so much nowadays, I still keep it in my nightstand drawer.

  2. Anonymath Says:

    My current non-threatening middle aged health problem is burning mouth syndrome, which started for me near the beginning of the pandemic. Basically, on and off during the day, the roof of my mouth, gums, lips, and/or tongue feel like I’ve just drunk really hot tea and scalded my mouth. Shows up and goes away on its own. I had hoped it was a weird allergy to something, but I haven’t introduced any new products during the pandemic, and unless one of my regular products changed formulation without notice I have no idea what might be causing it. In these pandemic times I don’t think it’s worth going to the dentist for, but once it’s safe to have a check-up I’ll mention it.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      One of my friends got oral allergy syndrome as an adult and suddenly had that problem with uncooked citrus even though she never had had that as a problem before. (Other people can get it for other things… apparently it is related to pollen allergies for seemingly unrelated pollens.)

      • FF Says:

        Just looked this up, as I’d never heard of it before, and it looks like there are a variety of other possible causes besides allergies, so your primary doctor might be another place to start. Also, speaking from personal experience, you can develop new allergies at any age.

        I have been to the dentist a few times in the past couple of months, including having oral surgery at the beginning of January, and they are taking way more precautions there than anyplace else I’ve been. The dentist and staff wear N-95s with shields encasing their heads and protective clothing. When you come in, they spray the soles of your shoes with disinfectant, give you mouthwash, have you use hand sanitizer, and never have more than one person coming or going through the same entrance (you have to wait in the car to be called in).

      • Anonymath Says:

        Huh..I hadn’t thought of that. I guess I could try an elimination diet and see if I can figure out what’s causing it. I haven’t been eating raw citrus, and I’m not usually allergic to any pollen that grows here. I certainly hope I’m not allergic to coffee! As to seeing the dentist, I’m afraid I’m in a hotspot area and most of the folks around here, including many medical related folks, are the next thing to COVID deniers. Safer to stay home for now and visit once I’ve gotten my vaccine.

      • Jenny F. Scientist Says:

        It’s not just raw citrus- it’s a whole host of annoying foods (I also have this, and it stinks). I have no idea if this is what’s going on, but early spring is a typical time for this to start because trees are blooming! Sometimes you get a kind of additive effect too- hazelnuts are okay today, but not on a day you also ate celery. It’s often accompanied by a pain in the stomach or, ah, GI distress later. This chart may be informative: https://www.chkd.org/patients-and-families/health-library/way-to-grow/oral-allergy-syndrome/

  3. Steph Says:

    Lower back problems kicked in for me like clockwork once I turned 30. Moving and getting a proper desk chair kept them at bay for the second half of last year, but they’ve been back for a month or so. Stiffness/soreness, actual pain if I stand and hold the cats in a particular way (IDK why it’s primarily the cats that cause that). I can’t tell if it’s just because I haven’t exercised in a year, or if it’s just age. I shoveled snow for over an hour yesterday and that was probably a mistake.

    I may try that purple pillow as an add-on to my cheap desk chair.

    • Candi Says:

      Stretching made a big difference for my lower back pain. Depends on the root cause of course. Years ago I went to a chiropractor out of desperation. I’m still skeptical of chiropractors, but they really helped with the pain. I think they loosened up my tight muscles and now I stretch every morning for maintenance. I also walk a lot more and got a purple pillow for wfh cause my home office chair sucks.

  4. RD Says:

    I also dream about swimming frequently, but the pool is close. It was so helpful for my mild arthritic and shoulder issues. Right now, BP goes higher to 150/100 or so and trying to control it without medication.

  5. CG Says:

    Sciatica (now well managed, thank goodness), restless legs syndrome, weird scar tissue thing in one foot that gets sore if I am on my feet too long or forget to stretch after running, tennis elbow here. For all of you with back issues, based on my physical therapy experience for sciatica, many of us with desk jobs or who read a lot spend a lot of time with our spines curled forward. It’s often beneficial to do the cobra pose to help reset to a neutral position. During my treatment for sciatica, I would do two sets of ten cobra poses, letting my belly really sag on 9 and 10. I am now pretty much pain free. *I am not a doctor or a physical therapist, though, so check with your doctor before taking my advice!!* Also, after OMDG mentioned on her blog that her RLS seems to show up when she’s tired, I’ve been paying attention and that’s true for me, too. Although I’m not sure what to do about that besides…not get tired. Courage, mes braves!

    • Steph Says:

      I haven’t had sciatica, but I’ve gotten similar advice about desk jobs. I really miss my old gym & personal trainer, who worked with me on stretching my hip flexors out and building up leg/back muscles that get overstretched by sitting (also stretching chest muscles/strengthening shoulders for the same reason). It made a huge difference, but I’m not great at keeping up with those workouts on my own – I moved away from that gym about 2.5 years ago now. *Also not a doctor or PT!*

      • FF Says:

        I also frequently have sciatica, in my case due to spondylolisthesis (one of my vertebrae has slipped on top of the one below and presses on the nerves), and it also makes my back very achy and stiff when I do a lot of walking or standing. Which leg is affected switches back and forth. It took a while and some pushing to get referred and diagnosed, but since then I’ve had spinal cortisone injections twice, which helped enormously. In contrast to most people with sciatica, I have to avoid bending backward–instead, I do stretches every day that focus on forward bending/flexion. Pre-pandemic, I was also doing Pilates and Gyrotonic to strengthen my core, but that has fallen by the wayside.

        When I had plantar fasciitis, when the sciatica acted up, my foot pain also got worse.

  6. Omdg Says:

    I love the idea of this thread, but as I am in the process of applying for disability insurance, will sit this one out from a contribution standpoint! The paranoia is strong with me, just saying.

  7. af184793 Says:

    Keep trying different things with the foot – massaging, stretching, resting, different kind of house sandals/slippers (I like Oofos), or just wear sneakers at home, because barefoot is the worst for plantar fascitis or anything related.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Will do! I probably should just get another pair of sneakers and wear them at home.

      • Steph Says:

        I originally got Feetures socks when I was having ankle/knee problems a few years ago – but they were great for plantar fasciitis too. I mostly have their regular ankle socks, but I have one pair of PF relief socks that I wore a lot when that was really bad. Unfortunately their socks are pretty pricey, but it looks like they’re having a sale right now, and REI has some of the crew socks on clearance as well. I don’t like wearing sneakers at home, and my PT said that feetures were the next best option.

        (I did end up having to get injections in both feet for the plantar fasciitis, so the socks weren’t a cure-all, but they do make life more comfortable)

      • Steph Says:

        Er, not crew socks, ankle socks!

  8. Katherine Says:

    I have lately had bursitis in my knee. It comes and goes, but during my first flare-up in November I was in terrible pain and catastrophizing that I was on my way to an early knee replacement. Luckily, my primary care provider was able to diagnose it and reassure me during my annual check-up. Now I’m feeling a lot better, but have to be careful about kneeling down on the floor with my kids.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      That sounds super unpleasant. :(

      • Alice Says:

        I have bursitis that hits periodically in any of 3 areas: the balls of my feet, one knee, and one hip. Very annoying.

        What’s helped the most has been physical therapy with a PT who focuses on movement retraining, not just dealing with the single pain symptom/area. (Which is what several PTs did before I ended up with this particularly stellar PT.)

        I haven’t had more than a very mild bursitis flare in a few years. And as an added benefit, I no longer need custom orthotics for planar fasciitis. I was told to expect to wear them for the rest of my life in my mid-20s, so eliminating that need was an unexpected plus. I do have to keep up with a set of exercises, but: well worth it, in my opinion.

  9. rose Says:

    The foot thing is actually something you should mention to your doctor.
    Dentists are now highly likely to have had vaccines and generally are taking major safety precautions to protect themselves so you are relatively safe. But ask your own dentist as some practices and people vary.
    Lots of things change in middle years for women especially. Do not stay with any doctor who blows you off as ‘a middle-aged woman who cannot accurately report factually on her own body’. MANY newer doctors were NOT taught to disbelive women’s reports … but some still have false beliefs.

  10. accm Says:

    Lower back pain (which has actually improved a lot with a good home desk chair and a new mattress). Perimenopausal hormones OMG. 4-5 days completely grouchy and exhausted, with semi-miraculous recovery on about day 3 of cycle.

  11. middle_class Says:

    Since my mid 30s, I’ve had a very sore spot on my upper back. Doing certain yoga positions and stretches help reduce the pain. However I am not diligent about these and need a tiny stab of pain to remind me that I should not stop exercising!

    Also in my mid 30s, my left knee started feeling pain. I think it was due to excessive aerobics in my youth. I don’t always feel it but I cannot jog, jump or do aerobics without bringing back a dull pain. Swimming would normally be the answer but as noted, the pandemic sucks!

  12. Jjiraffe Says:

    I’m having a weird issue with my left knee. After I work out it gets pretty sore, right above the actual joint. Not to the point where it’s agony, but I do ice it down. Maybe I need one of those knee braces from the drugstore when I work out? (I do boot camp videos and the Peloton bike.) I stopped running several years ago because of pretty bad pain in my left hip during and after, but other aerobic exercise is fine. Not sure the knee and hip things are related…but both are on the left side. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    In 2020 I dealt with peri-menopausal stuff — super heavy period that lasted every day for 6 months! plus anemia! good times! — which thankfully was eliminated with minor surgery and a Mirena. Yay for modern medicine.

  13. mnitabach Says:

    I’m not sure if this counts as a “middle aged health problem” or just “being an egregious dumbasse while middle aged”, but in July I wiped my “gluteal area” 😹😹😹 with a handful of poison ivy leafs… It was an interesting following four weeks… I even bought one of those donut seat cushions for sitting on after you give birth… 😹 😹 😹

  14. revanche @ a gai shan life Says:

    I have a whole host of fun so much so I often forget about some because it’s just part of my normal. There’s the fibro that’s been a problem for 20+ years. Diet changes and therapy with a special type of therapist has helped with some of the musculoskeletal pain. RLS strikes occasionally, I take magnesium every day and that plus semi regular exercise seems to help with that. I have had a mystery itch/ rash for the past two years seemingly triggered by my starting to take fiber capsules but I’m not testing as allergic so I don’t really know. My fingers swell up AND dislocate whenever I sleep, we’re hoping it’s a post partum pregnancy hormones problem but … Who knows. My appetite is all messed up, yay, maybe blaming pandemic for kicks because who knows. I’ve got PPD and issues with D-MER. Those are what I recall off the top of my head anyway! At least they’re just miserable and not truly serious.

  15. Debbie M Says:

    I also have foot things. The ball of my right foot hurts, but only when I put weight on it and only when I wake up or if I get up out of a chair I’ve been sitting in. Once I walk on it a while, it feels fine. The doctor tested it and said it’s not arthritis, but in the fine print, it’s “mild plantar calcaneal spurring.” It looks like the treatment for that is similar to that for plantar fasciitis, so I’ve been doing some of the physical therapy I did when I had that.

    And the second toe on my left foot feels mildly sprained. So I quit jogging. And then I found a thing that attaches it to the third toe like a splint, and after a while it felt better. So I stopped wearing it and now it’s back. So I’m wearing it again and it’s been over a year, and I’m super out of shape, so I’m jogging again and it does not appear to be getting worse.

    And the hot flashes, for several years now. At least they’re short for me. The only trigger I can figure out is having emotions, especially negative emotions, so thanks, Trump. At least they help me drink lots of water (they make me thirsty) and they help me get out of bed in the morning when it’s cold, so yay for positive side effects!

    And various problems due to added weight such as worsening blood pressure, blood sugar, and maybe sleep apnea.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My foot twinges in solidarity! I’m glad you figured out the splint thing!

      A few years ago I was getting hot flashes, but I think it was the foam mattress we were using.

      DH finally gave up on the sleep apnea weight thing and got a cpap machine. It works very well for him except if he rolls on his side it starts to whistle and wakes me up. Still, it is better than his snoring was!

      • Debbie M Says:

        Foam mattress hot flashes? I disapprove! :-)

        I have a home test coming for the sleep apnea. My mom had amazing snoring before she got her CPAP! But now it’s much easier to sleep in the same room and, even better, she wakes up refreshed! My boyfriend loves his CPAP, too–I’m not a fan of the cold air blowing on me, but otherwise, I’m fine with it.

  16. Lisa Says:

    I ended up with a frozen shoulder about a year and a half ago – it was incredibly painful and I have no idea why it happened. Luckily, I was able to do a few weeks of physical therapy this time last year before the S**T got real and everything shut down. It helped a lot, although I still don’t have quite the same range of motion in my left shoulder as in my right. Apparently it’s relatively common in middle-aged women.

    And my partner also finally gave up with the sleep apnea weight thing and got a CPAP. It’s AMAZING – I still wear earplugs to sleep because blocking out the ambient night sounds seems to help clear my brain, but I am no longer regularly awakened by the snoring!!! We’re both sleeping much better!

  17. First Gen American Says:

    Late to the game here but back, hip and foot pain is a daily struggle. PT helps a lot but gosh, my body is requiring a lot of maintenance. It’s like an old car and stuff is breaking down left and right.


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