Saturday, August 27, 2011

Why I Avoid E-mail "Consulting" About Knee Problems

If you e-mail me, seeking advice on what to do about your bad knees, you will receive a reply similar to this:
Thank you for your e-mail.

I’m sorry to hear of your knee pain. However, I’d rather discuss ideas that may help you on my blog or a knee forum (such as chondromalacia community), as opposed to trading e-mails privately.

This is for several reasons: (1) I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail to my private account from people who have problems with their knees. (2) As I’m not a doctor or physical therapist, I want to avoid any kind of consulting/advice-giving relationship that would suggest that kind of authority. (3) If you post your questions on a forum, or my blog, and allow me to respond there, others may chime in as well -- with ideas I hadn’t thought of, that may work even better for you.

Please don’t misconstrue this as a lack of sympathy; I’m sending this note out to all who have been contacting me privately.

All my best wishes!
I thought today I'd take a moment to explain, in a bit more detail than the message above contains, why I send out a more or less form reply to often desperate knee pain sufferers (who could have been me only four years ago).

First, there's that small matter of not being a doctor. :) And, even if I were one, I'd be a fool to offer advice to a patient I had never seen (well, other than the most general sort of advice, which is why a lot of doctor Q and A's on the Internet may seem unsatisfying -- though actually the doctor who declines to say "do this," "take this," and "do that" to a person he's never examined is just being professional).

So I've avoided getting into advice giving/consulting/"what are your thoughts on?" e-mail relationships. It's not that I think I don't have anything to say. I wrote Saving My Knees because I had so much to say -- and no one else on the bookshelves of my local Barnes & Noble had the same perspective (that of someone who beat knee pain) and the same message (much of the current thinking on how to deal with patellofemoral pain syndrome is simply bad), with research to back it up.

Still, it's my story. Parts of my story may help you find a way to heal your knees, while other parts may not.

Which leaves us with the compromise I decided on, some time ago, when creating this blog. No one wants to read a blog called "Saving My Knees" about some guy who healed his bad knees who writes only about how great his life is now. Most people who stumble upon this blog are hurting. They feel bereft, forsaken and abandoned by a succession of doctors and physical therapists. I know. I've been there. And they want advice on how to stop hurting -- if that's possible.

So I developed a blog that is supported mainly by three content legs -- like a tripod, if you will. They are: (1) Information taken from my book (I can share my findings with people who aren't interested in buying Saving My Knees, for whatever reason) (2) Commentary on new medical studies/news stories/whatever (to keep things fresh) and (3) My sort of awkward attempt to share, with readers who have specific problems, the kind of thinking that helped me heal (my "Comment Corner" feature).

The third leg ("Comment Corner") makes me the most uncomfortable, really. That's why I so often caution that whatever remarks I make are "things to consider and discuss with a qualified medical professional who is examining your knees." What makes me a bit more comfortable with Comment Corner is that it's an open conversation -- I'm not swapping private e-mails -- and anyone who chooses to opine in the Comments section that I'm an idiot for reasons x, y and z has that opportunity.

In other words, I offer my thoughts on a case study of someone's troubled knees. Then a reader can chime in with perhaps a great idea I have overlooked (example: someone recently suggested getting an MRI to a knee pain sufferer -- I know many orthopedists think MRIs are overdone, but my first axiom of healing is that you need to know what's wrong before you can devise a plan to get better).

Hope this clarifies things a bit! In the meantime, keep movin'! That's one piece of general advice I do feel unequivocally confident about, when it comes to beating chronic knee pain.

1 comment:

  1. Richard, I really loved reading your book, could buy it here in Brazil from amazon with no trouble and read on Kinlde for PC. It surelly gave-me a new point of view and a new hope about my Chondromalacia Patellae Diagnostic. I also got Chondromalacia, probably also by ciclyng too hard. Also found very usefull the answers provided in this post, I'm trying to plan my own recovering plan.

    Two things would help me a lot. If I could get a printed version of the book I'd buy a copy of it to my doctor, he is young and I think he would take it seriously, but I've seen in your blog that it seens to be impossible to print it.

    The second point is about the studies you found that support your view, in the book I have seen that there are some studie references in the end, but I'd like to know if you keep a list of academic links updated on this subject. If you do, I would love to have it. If you don't then I would suggest that we found a way to make a public list online where each one of us could add academic studies that show cartilage recovery, that would be very usefull to spread this knowledge all arround our PTs and doctors.

    Another question about your recovery, have you made a MRI after your recover? It would even became a one patient study if it could show part of your improvement.

    Henrique Carlo Farina