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Can I use flippers and paddles to help me swim?

Q) I have arthritis in one knee and in my hands and I regularly swim (not breaststroke) up to a mile about five times a week. I use flippers on my feet and paddles on my hands – is it advisable to use these aids?
Esther, Eastbourne, East Sussex (Autumn 2012)

A) If you don't experience any reaction to the swimming, such as knee pain and swelling, then I think you're fine to continue pounding the pool as you do.

The fact that you're exercising at all is to your advantage. I note you're correctly not doing breaststroke (generally not recommended with knee problems).

This answer was provided by Dr Philip Helliwell for the Autumn 2012 edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

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