Saturday, June 9, 2012

Which Qualities Do You Need to Beat Knee Pain?

Recently I was pondering who my message about how to beat knee pain would benefit the most. Let’s face it: Different books (and messages) resonate with different types of people.

For example, there are those who are intensely curious about drugs that will mute their discomfort. For those people, Saving My Knees would probably be a waste of ten bucks. The more I learned about knee pain during my own recovery, the less impressed I was by what drugs could do for me. In fact, it became clear they could contribute to making my problem worse.

So there are people that the book and this blog aren’t suited for. Then there's my ideal audience. I have come to the conclusion that that’s “athletes” -- but not for the reasons you probably think. (I’ll return to those quote marks later.)

First, here’s why I bet you think I said that:

* I was athletic myself (and injured my knees cycling).

* Athletes sometimes are born with physical gifts that could include a better ability to heal.

* Athletes are better conditioned and thus better capable of succeeding in a motion-based program.

All interesting points.

But all irrelevant.

I don’t think it’s what athletes possess physically that matters, but rather their strengths mentally. In fact, that’s why I put quote marks around the word athlete. Because even amateur athletes who have no physical talent at all can be remarkable for their attitude and approach to training.

So here’s what I find impressive about the athlete mindset, and why I think these types are well-suited to beating knee pain the way I did.

* They’re fighters. They’re not quitters. I think they tend to be more optimistic about life in general, or at the least, convinced that their actions affect outcomes in their lives.

* They’re self-motivated and driven. They set a goal and they work toward achieving it, even if that takes many months (which healing bad knees will).

* They’re organized and focused. Ever talked to someone in training for a road race? He (or she) usually is on some kind of schedule: x miles this week, with a couple of longer 10-mile runs say, and an easy run on Monday etc. And meanwhile, during practice runs he's noting splits for each mile and trying to set personal best times. This is someone who will feel comfortable with the knee pain sufferer’s best friend: a good knee pain journal.

* They’re disciplined and willing to make sacrifices. They pass on that extra slice of pie or on “guy’s (or gal’s) night out” because they’re in training, for example. They forgo short-term pleasure to achieve long-term results. They are the kind of people who can lose that 5 or 10 pounds in order to better control their knee pain.


  1. Hi Richard,
    First of all, thanks for your book, your blog and being always that positive. Your view is really helping me on my knee recovery, physically and emotionally.

    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.

    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 tan 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 two hours or so, thought.

    Thank you very much. I know every person is different and I don’t pretend you to tell me how much I have to walk. But that’s a doubt I have since I read the book and, as I know motion is the answer, it’s always going around in my head.

  2. Sorry, I meant that
    "I walk a few steps around my home EVERY two hours or so, thought."