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I've had to get used to living with joint pain; TV presenter Gethin Jones has suffered his share of sports injuries, including a fractured skull. But nothing slowed him down until he developed a degenerative knee condition fit for fame.

'WHEN I was 12 I was bullied at school. I was punched and spat at which was traumatic.

I was a skinny violinist with braces and National Health glasses, the girls weren't exactly queuing up, and maybe that fuelled my love of fitness.

But it was nothing to do with vanity - for me health and fitness has always been to do with how I feel, plus I need to be fit and healthy for my work.

If you are doing a show that goes on for 14 hours you have to be relatively fit. You also need a sharp mind and you can only manage if you have a sharp body.

But doing sport means I have always been used to taking a good battering.

I broke six bones during my time on Blue Peter and I've suffered more than my fair share of injuries playing rugby.

But none of them ever put me off - not even when I fractured my skull on the rugby pitch. I don't remember how it happened but I'm sure it involved a good whack to the head.

After the match I went to hospital for a scan and it showed a small fracture. Because of the size the doctors decided that operating wouldn't make much difference, so we just left it.

I carried on playing rugby, I just wore a protective head guard for a few weeks while it healed.

The injury that has affected me the most is tendinosis in my right knee. That's the degenerative one - it's never going to go away and will only get worse. It is a build up of tiny injuries in the tendons that connect my muscles to the bone.

The doctors can't pinpoint one thing that caused it.

Tendinosis tends to be linked to overuse and I do so many sports that it could be any one of them.

It started a couple of years ago but I didn't get it diagnosed straight away.

Because of my rugby background I'm pretty used to having a sore body when I wake up. So at first I didn't think twice about having to walk downstairs backwards the morning after a match. But this pain never really went away, so eventually I went to the doctor.

They established it wasn't tendonitis because there was no inflammation. That left tendinosis, which was bad news because there is no cure. It's never going to be 100% again. The best I could do was try to rehab the muscles around it to try to take the pressure off my tendons.

But I refused to have steroid injections. I understand that after an injury top sportsmen need them to help perform at the highest level, but if you don't really need it, I'm against it.

It's the same with painkillers. It's not good to take them long term so I try not to take them too often.

If I have a bad night I might take a couple before I go to bed, then the next morning the pain is more manageable. But other than that I just get on with it.

It's normal for me to get out of bed with a bit of pain. It sounds awful, but it's something I've had to get used to.

Some forms of exercise hurt more than others now. If I do some leg weights I'm not usually too bad the next day, but if I play football it can be quite painful.

Swimming is different. Speedo approached me to take part in their six-week Get Speedo Fit swimming challenge and I thought I would go for it because it would help me keep fit without putting any stress on my knee.

I don't need to warm up beforehand or warm down afterwards and I still have no pain. When I started I swam eight lengths and I was out of breath. Now I'm doing Ironman distances, 3.2km.

And I haven't had one injury. It has helped strengthen the shoulder I dislocated and my ankle ligaments. It has also helped ease the pain in my knee and hopefully will help to slow its degeneration.

GeThin | Jones is an ambassador for the National Lottery Awards, the annual search for the UK's favourite Lottery funded Arts, Heritage, Sports and Community projects. Visit lotterygoodcauses.


| Ex-Blue Peter presenter |Gethin Jones believes his hectic sporting schedule has contributed to his painful knee condition
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 5, 2015
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