I’m a 25 year old woman who has never been an athlete (to be sincere, just the opposite), but I’m determined to beat this knee pain as it’s keeping me apart from my life, my career, my friends and even daily life activities. I don’t have another option, anyway. It’s this pain or me. And it’s gonna be me, definitely.First of all, not to worry -- that information isn’t what I consider personal (unlike, say, what color underwear I have on). Also, you may not be an athlete physically, An, but you appear to have some of the essential mental attributes. For one, you’re determined and focused on a goal: beating this condition!
I have some doubts about your healing program. Those short walks you did every ten minutes around your apartment… did you do them only the first month of your program (when you were not prepared to walk a lot) or did you keep doing them when you were building distance? Did you do them ALL day? Didn’t that irritate your knees?
Sorry for asking such personal and specific questions but I can’t walk as much as you did at the beginning of your plan. I can only walk less than a mile daily without pain, after many moths (I started with 200 metres per day), and sometimes I feel as if I wasn’t doing enough (type A way of thinking, I guess). I walk a few steps around my home every two hours or so.
To answer your questions: (1) As I recall, I did my “walkarounds” (which involved setting a timer to go off every 10 or 15 minutes, then taking 70 or so steps around my apartment) for the first few months of my recovery -- more in the beginning and less as my knees got stronger. By the six-month point, for example, I wasn’t really doing them, and was focusing on taking longer, more challenging walks. (2) Maybe I didn’t do them all day, but most of the day, yes. So you see: I’m very disciplined (and maybe a little crazy). Also, remember I had no job then. I had embarked on a one-year experiment to save my knees. Healing was my No. 1 focus, constantly. (3) Doing walkarounds didn’t irritate my knees. But if it bothers yours, then maybe you need to do them less frequently, or take fewer steps, or find some substitute activity.
So those are my answers.
But here’s the postscript, which you all can probably see coming.
Doing exactly what I did almost surely won’t be the right thing for your particular knees. Your knees may need to do some variety of walkarounds for a week, a month, a year -- or not at all. Maybe another activity suits them better. I liked walkarounds because they got me moving in short, manageable bursts and got me moving in an activity that was useful (in other words, my knees were making adaptations in order to walk more -- and walking is something we need to do all the time, as opposed to say leaning against a wall as if sitting in an invisible chair).
In my opinion, that’s the bigger picture (which I think An already recognizes). The really big picture requires stepping back and thinking about what walkarounds and other similar activities are meant to accomplish.
And sometimes it’s good to look at the really big picture.
I started doing walkarounds because (1) I knew motion was critical to healing bad knees (2) my bad knees thwarted my attempts to move as much as I wanted to (3) my knees responded well to short bursts of walking.
For me, these were the main ideas to keep in mind, as I fashioned a program to get moving.
Finally, to An: congratulations! You can now walk less than a mile a day without knee pain, up from 200 meters. I know what you’re thinking: Yeah, but that’s after many months! True, but you’re in the middle of a loooooong process. It’s hard to overemphasize, in fact, how long this type of healing takes.
The good news is, the stronger your knees get, the faster it goes (and the more tolerant your joints become of the mistakes you invariably will make along the way). That was my experience anyway.