Saturday, July 23, 2011

Why I Will No Longer Be Posting on the KneeGuru Forum

For anyone who wants to attract my attention with a "shout out" over on KneeGuru, I have two words for you: Don't bother.

Unfortunately, it appears I have been banned from the site.

Honestly, this decision left me quite puzzled. In the interest of being open, I'm going to share with you the e-mail exchange I had with the site's founder (my screen name is rbcyclist, though I signed my posts with my real name), then explain a few things, and you can judge for yourself:

Sent: Thu, July 14, 2011 10:40:13 AM
Subject: Spam on KNEEguru

Dear rbcyclist

I am very unhappy that you are using my site, which has taken 13 years for me to develop the FREE content to my readers, in order to excessively promote the sales of your own book.

I have removed your account.

If you contact Google Adwords, you will be able to pay them for an Ad that they will distribute to all relevant knee sites for you, and put the matter into a proper commercial context.


And my reply:

Dear Sheila,

I'm sorry that you feel that way, and it certainly wasn't my intention to "spam" your site. I wish that you had quietly approached me and asked me not to post any more messages about my book -- I certainly would not have done so. I didn't realize this had become such an irritant.

In any event, the reason that I did post so much about my book, and about the contents, was because I think the message is important to people who suffer from knee pain. My mission is much more evangelical than marketing/promotional, I assure you. I think there will be a dramatic re-think in the next few decades about treating knee pain, and it will center around the realization that damaged cartilage can heal, under the right conditions.

In any event, I respect your decision -- it's your site, after all -- and wish you luck in building the community there. It's good for knee pain sufferers to have somewhere to go to share ideas, feelings and opinions.



Okay, what did I do that was considered so offensive? Most recently, I started two threads over there to let people know that Saving My Knees was available through Amazon and then Smashwords (the first thread in January, then the second one six months later, in July). Within those threads, I had great discussions with forum members who were curious about my story and had their own thoughts to share. Sometimes I mentioned the book, but not in a promotional, in-your-face way (e.g., "Buy my book! It will solve all your knee problems! Only $9.99!).

One more thing: As part of my signature, I included my website address. So I would sign my posts, "Richard," then on the line below I'd add, "" But that's common for someone who has a Web site. I doubt that's a hanging offense.

Now someone might say, "Well, why start a thread in July that the book's available on Smashwords too? Isn't that a bit much?" Two things: (1) There are a lot of e-reading devices other than Amazon's Kindle, and Smashwords distributes in pretty much all formats. (2) On another forum that I belong to (chondromalacia community) someone asked if the book would be available for her Nook (which it should be now through Smashwords, though wasn't before), and I thought others might have the same question.

Even so, I admit it might have been overstepping the bounds of good forum decorum. If Sheila had shot me an e-mail and said, "Hey, I appreciate what you bring here -- I think your message of cartilage healing deserves discussion, and readers can benefit from an inspiring story -- but I'd rather not have this forum be at all commercial, so please stop mentioning your book," I would have apologized to her and stopped mentioning the book.

Now here's why I think the spammer charge is way off-base:

I started several threads over there. I had long conversations, if you will, with other members of the forum. My first thread was called "My Success Story Beating Chronic Knee Pain" and had a large number of hits. I wanted to share a message of hope. I wanted to inspire people by telling them how I healed. I wanted to warn them about bad advice I got from my doctor and physical therapist -- bad advice that they might be getting too.

If you were to read this long, long thread, I don't think your first impression would be, "God, what a spammer." And I don't think your reaction would be, "Yeah, this guy just wants to sell a lot of books." I think (and hope) it would be more like, "Wow, this guy fully healed, and he did a helluva lot of research, and experimenting, and learned a lot -- and he wrote a book and now wants to reach out and help others." (If you don't care to buy a book, that's no problem, as I've always said -- the blog's 100% free, 24 hours a day.)


That's my banner message. I'd link to all my threads on KneeGuru -- again, in a spirit of openness, to allow readers to judge for themselves whether my posted content was too promotional -- but unfortunately Sheila has deleted them.

KneeGuru has a fantastic community of people. I wouldn't not recommend it now because of spite. Go there, talk to members, learn what you can about your knee condition. It's the best knee site I know of.

I'm a little disappointed that the site's founder didn't have the courtesy to send me a warning, "Please stop talking about your book or I'll have to ban you." I am left to conclude that she feels none of my posts over there contained any value to her community -- and honestly, that really, really puzzles me.

Because it's so obviously not true.

So there you have it. That's the full story of why I'm no longer part of the KneeGuru community.


  1. That SUCKS. You are virtually the only person out there with that message that I have found (well, besides one guy on the chondromalacia email list and Doug Kelsey). You're certainly the only one who figured it out almost on your own (with some help from DK). Now, all of those people are not going to hear that message. Did she respond to your message back? Because you are totally right--if she had just warned you that would have taken care of it completely. That is a total disconnect: kicking someone off the site who has healed from this "hopeless" diagnosis. I'm so annoyed. Personally I found the site too big and crazy, so I gave up on using it (though I may have found you through it). I prefer to come here. :)

    Maybe your followers on that site will continue to recommend your blog/book if that lady doesn't change her mind.


  2. No, I never heard back from her. I really didn't expect to. I did kind of wonder if she even read anything I posted, as I definitely brought a very different (and valuable, I hope) perspective to her members. My major complaint with the site -- which I do consider very good -- is that it has a bit of a pro-surgery bias, so I think it benefits from having voices (like mine) that tend to lean in the other direction.

  3. So annoying. Like an old friend of mine who suddenly stopped returning my calls because I was doing something that bothered her. So instead of addressing the bothersome thing, she just cut me off. It's such a waste. Sheila definitely should have given you a warning... oh well.

  4. Hi Richard,

    Sorry this is not on topic but recently you said that the best way to contact you was to post a comment to your blog.

    I have read your book and subsequently all of the posts on your blog and on kneeguru, and I just wanted to thank you for writing about your experience and for passing the information on to others, reading your story has given me some hope.

    The history of my knee pain is quite similar to yours, I used to do a lot of mountain biking and I think one particularly intense holiday in the Alps is what really damaged my knees. I also have a desk job with long hours so have the same problem you faced of knees constantly being in a painful position.

    I have tried every possible position for my legs and haven’t found one yet which is pain free. The only respite I could get was when I got home and lay in my bed the pain would ease. However now even this does not take away the pain completely, and even when I am lying with my legs out straight there is still some pain.

    So my main question is:

    If I have got to the point where I am almost constantly in pain, is it still possible to perform the movement which is necessary to heal my cartilage?

    Even if I just walk around for 10 minutes or so, this is likely to result in the pain increasing a bit and sometimes my knees becoming inflamed for a day or two. Do you think that while I am feeling pain the cartilage cannot heal, or do you think that movement can still have a healing effect despite the pain, as long as in theory the movement should not be putting too much stress on the knee joint?

    I understand that you are not a doctor of course, but I hoped you might have some insight from your recovery process. When you had a setback and felt pain, did you only return to movement once the pain was gone, or did you sometimes feel pain when exercising? In your reading about the healing of cartilage is there something that leads you to believe it cannot heal while you are feeling pain?

    Any response you can give me is greatly appreciated!



  5. Some good, difficult questions, Alex. I'm going to try to return to them on the blog in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you may want to look at my post here "How Is It Possible to Exercise Without Pain When Pain Is All You Know?"

    Also, there are easier activities you can do, if even walking ten minutes straight is beyond your capacity. Doug Kelsey wrote a piece about exercises for easy movement (such as flexing the knee joint by sitting and pushing a skateboard back and forth). It's here:


  6. KneeGURU sucks. Every story on there is a horror story. If you look up the same procedures on a cycling or running site (or neutral--general discussion site) most peoples outcomes are positive; generally in-line with studies that show that surgery for certain ailments aren't the end of the world. Guru is the 1% of people whose surgery had a mishap; they're people but I hope not to be there and probably won't.

    Anyways, screw Guru.

  7. Hi I am a Knee Guru member and just saw your blog header and was curious. I agree that the Knee Guru is very good but it does seem very gloomy. So gloomy I stopped posting for quite a long time. I tried to get a thread going several times about a treatment and had good success with in the meniscal section with no avail.In fact people to name no names were quite hostile one in particular who has posted about 2500 times compared to my puny 30 posts who I think thought I had nothing to contribute despite problems with both knees in a meniscal sense and OA. I remember being quite hurt by that and interestingly this particular member has never come on the OA section - almost like they don't want to face up to the fact that they have OA which they do! They also posted about the treatment showing they knew nothing about how it works or the efficacy of it. So that taught me to take it all with a pinch of salt. I only managed it eventually by going to the OA section and it took off - with two or three notable success stories ie like me people saw my story and tried them with great results. Of course it is not SURGICAL and it requires commitment and time. Also if I am not mistaken Sheila is a doctor so may be that feeds into her view of what's in and out of her site. I think a private message would have been fairer. Any way carry on with your good work. Yours in crappy knees

  8. I left today, by choice. It was pretty hilarious. So I had been posting there with some regularity, the forums are kind of dead since Sheila (the owner) sent half of the members e-mails telling them they are unwelcome spammers! Anyways, she sent me a weird e-mail basically questioning whether or not I was a doctor. The conclusion is: no. If I was, I wouldn't be on the forums.

    I never responded. Yesterday I was helping somebody by providing info I had read on what graft is better--hamstring or patella tendon for ACL? Anyways, this girl with 2,000 posts gets all defensive (apparently I am being TOO helpful!) she replies and essentially writes a 500 word post without communicating anything.

    It's a nice site but the downfalls are
    1) Sheila is crazy and over "protective" (I'm still not sure what's she protecting...)
    2) There are other crazy people with 2,000 posts who maybe are old and lonely (women that is)

    I have no clue. I was helpful and understand a lot of new age treatments, studies going on well. I got 5 likes out of less than 75 posts. Some of them had like 12 likes over 2000 posts. I'm not sure that's indicative of helpfulness but despite the pros of the sites it's quack-driven.

    Also, after having seen how they treated you (chewed you up, spit you out) I retaliated by saying some pretty mean things (Immature, but it felt good!) and also deconstructuted the primary complainers post (forget her name) pointing out she never said anything.

    Thanks for the vent. Go Rich! I am back to anonymity.