Who Gets Osteoarthritis in their 20s?

Me, it turns out. On my 29th birthday my knee swelled up after a run, and it kept puffing up after any sort of intense activity, such as jump roping, or even carrying a heavy bag downstairs. It took a year of visiting different orthopedists to figure out what was going on: apparently, after a good 17 years of dance training–several of them intense–I’d worn down the cartilage behind my patellas (knee caps) resulting in pretty sever arthritis. I’ve since learned a lot about how to manage it–strengthening certain leg muscles with biking; stretching others with a foam roller; and learning to do yoga in a way that protects my joints. I’m happy to say that I’ve been free of all swelling for almost six months now.

Now that running's out, I bike to get in my cardio

But that’s not the good news!

Mom and I, circa 1982 or so

After I told my editors at Prevention about my condition, and mentioned that my mother suffered from arthritis as well, we were asked to be the first mother daughter duo in a new column addressing hereditary conditions. We were both interviewed about our arthritis, and then an orthopedist weighed in on what we should do to prevent each of our conditions from getting any worse.

Every good story also has good photos. So, a couple of months ago my mother flew in from Oklahoma and we got to take part in a full-blown photo shoot. I’ve directed from behind the camera a bunch, but this was my first time in front of the lens. (As our deputy photo editor will tell you, I still tried to direct, despite my new role as “model.”)

First there was hair and makeup.

Very glamorous: We had robes and slippers and everything!

And then wardrobe.

My dress was in, mom's shirt was out.

Finally… Action!

The photographer, Gabrielle, was great at getting us to ham it up!

We had so much fun goofing around and playing on set.

Prevention doesn’t have a link to the article up online, but it’s in the May 2011 issue. The one with the AMAZING photo of Sheryl Crow on the cover! Here are the two photos they chose to run in the piece:


What have you inherited from your mom?  I want the good and the bad: I got my mom’s bum knees, but I also got her big, wide-mouthed laugh!

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8 Responses to Who Gets Osteoarthritis in their 20s?

  1. Marisa says:

    Wow, you and your mom look gorgeous–in 1982 and 2011! I can’t wait to see the issue.

  2. Kara says:

    Amazing pictures. They are glamorous but capture the sweetness of your relationship.

  3. Jessica McIntyre says:

    Oh My!! What beauties! I had no idea you had a blog until now. I have inherited so many of my mother’s amazing qualities but am extremely thankful to NOT have inherited her Younger Onset Alzheimer’s gene. And for that I will speak and educate on her and the rest of my family’s behalf. I Love my Mommy!! : ) Can’t wait to see the May issue!!

  4. Sharon Barbano says:

    You and your mother look stunning! What a lifetime honor … for both of you.

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