Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Note of Appreciation ... to All of You

I’ve been meaning to write this for a while.

Way back (well, closing in on two years now), I made Saving My Knees available as an electronic book on I hoped the message would spread far and wide: that there really was hope for chronic knee pain, and the best kind of hope -- informed hope. I weaved that message through a telling of my own story, from the depths of despair to the joy of recovery.

I figured, though, I had to be realistic about sales. Amazon is choking on thousands of titles, on just about every conceivable subject. Worse-case scenario, I might move 10 to 20 copies, with Mom, Dad and acquaintances accounting for a handful of those. My middle scenario -- which I deemed most likely -- involved sales of 100 to 200 books.

My “home run” scenario was 500 to whatever. For a $10 electronic book, cast asea with tens of thousands of other electronic books (many with publicists and publishing houses behind them), that seemed pretty good.

Well, we’ve entered the “home run” scenario. The last two months, a steady stream of readers has been finding Saving My Knees. That’s gratifying.

Even more gratifying: the quality of comments on the blog has soared. That shows me that the book (and blog) are reaching the right audience: smart, open-minded, curious knee pain sufferers who still dare to be optimistic (even after many setbacks). That’s terrific.

I recently got an e-mail from a woman in Slovenia. I wanted to excerpt parts of it (anonymously), but she described herself as a private person, which I respect. Anyway, she’s in the thick of what I can tell will be a challenging struggle with knee pain. She was grateful for stumbling upon Saving My Knees.

She wrote, “It is like a revelation to me, it fills me with hope I’ve been searching for for so long.” Hearing those words from someone half a world away made my day.

So thanks to all of you for your support (and great questions and comments)! :)


  1. I'm sending a note of appreciation right back at you! :)

    I'm pleased to say I'm one of your "home stretchers" -- buying the book in July 2012. It was so validating of all my struggles for 6 years! I just wish I had found it sooner! I've told many people about it.

    The explanation of the reason behind the "delayed knee pain effect" was particularly enlightening. I knew it was a fact, but I didn't know WHY. For example, I would do some activity during the day which I was worried might have been "over-doing-it" and that night go to bed fearful that in the morning I would wake up and be in pain.

    The parts about how well-meaning but too aggessive of attempts to strengthen the quads leading to severe knee flare up also struck home! Yes yes yes! After one particular episode of a well-meaning but disastrous attempt of a single-legged mini squat, I promised my knee I'd never never do that again no matter who was telling me to!

    Now I'm doing so so much better. I can walk up to three miles without pain and I can ride my bike outdoors including little hills -- all without the delayed knee pain effect kicking in. I've really come a long long way from where i was at in December which was having to limp slowly slowly carefully carefully or else risk shockingly stabbing pains. Taking only elevators, Or if forced to do stairs then doing each stair slowly carefully one at a time while holding tightly to the railing... Especially on the down.

    Now I'm thinking about working on building up the ability & courage to attempt such "wild and crazy" activities such as jogging (not for fun! But for the practical purpose of trying to catch the bus beforee it pulls away or if I'm late for something) or jumping/hopping (because I want to get back to my beloved dancing (foxtrot, lindyhop, waltzing) -- which I have not been able to do since 2006). It's just that at the moment it's such a huge huge joy and relief not to have knee pain that I'm still sort of reveling in the wonderfulness of it...... and I'm fearful of accidentally pushing it too far and having a severe set back. I've had soooo many severe set backs that I've lost count. But I'm on such a good track now... I don't want to blow it!

    But one thing in the book that has been very helpful and encouraging is about the realism about the long healing time. So this validates my caution about attempting jogging and hopping as ok.... And maybe even smart. Maybe I should just stick to the safer activities of walking and biking and let my knee joint keep healing and keep healing After all, just a few months ago I could not even do those things!

    "Patience patience patience" has been my mantra during this most recent knee therapy attempt, which is often very frustrating and difficult!!! I always want to do MORE and heal FASTER....... But, it just doesn't work that way as my severe setbacks have shown me again and again and again. So.... If I wait another month before trying jogging or hopping, I feel impatient and frustrated, but, that is OK. What's another month when I've been fighting this for 72 months?

    But my point is... the description in the book and this blog of how LONG it takes to heal chronic knee pain helps validate that I'm on the right track to be patient patient patient and it's OK not to push push push. Well, I AM "pushing" it, but in a very slow careful way that my knee is telling me it can handle because I'm finally getting significantly better but without any major setbacks since March.

    Anyway! Sending lots of encouragement (and patience) to folks reading the book and this blog!

  2. Ditto on the appreciation.

    I had runners knee for about 6 years 3 of which I was running and did not associate the pain with the syndrome. I am 57 years old. I have been running sense my mid 20's. The last 2 1/2 years I have not been able to run do to runners knee. I tried once running 2 miles after I had stopped for 5 months and I was about on crutches the rest of that week. I seen a PT and doctor and had a similar experience to what you mentioned in the book. The walking helped heal the knee for me. But when I started to run I would re aggravate the knee(as little as a 100 feet of running). I came across a blog where a person had runners knee and after he changed his running trail to one that had a lot of roots in it his runners knee went away. By accident he had cured his knee by running on his forefoot to avoid the roots instead of heel striking. So I though what the heck and I started to run on my forefoot and advanced to 5 finger toe shoes. I'm running now 4 mile shots at a 9 1/2 minute pace. I also do a lot of knee exercises now with high reps 30 to 200(until it burns good). I know you are not a big fan of knee exercises but I think if you increase (grow) the knee muscles you set up a healing/repair environment for the whole knee. Of coarse only when the knee will let you. Also by running on my forefoot seems to have strengthened my knees and reduced impact too. I was at the point with my knee that if I stubbed my toe my knee would swell up the next day. It was depressing. Right now I am either 100 percent healed or darn close to that.

    What worked for me is:

    1.)Keep track of why and what causes knee pain and what caused the knee feeling good. Usually the pain or good feeling surfaced the next day so a log is a great idea.

    2.)Walking about 2 miles everyday. (still walking I think it is key for knee lubrication and healing)

    3.)Running on my forefoot when I felt I could handle it. I started with a few steps and worked up. I think heal striking caused my runners knee.

    4.)Doing knee exercises, high reps getting muscle burn. I think that it gets the muscle building, repair mechanism kick started. Works for me anyway.

    I'm a over achiever,to my detriment with this runners knee and doing to much set me back many times. Patience and knowing your goldilocks zone (to much and to little is bad)is key. In the beginning the zone was very small for me but now it is large. I can beat the heck out of my knees right now with no adverse affects.

    Without the saving my knees book I probably would still have runners knee. It was as simple as walking for me to get the healing process started.

    Richard what do you think about a Facebook page for Saving my knees?

    Thanks for healthy knees Richard!!


  3. Ron, that is very interesting about the heel strike vs forefoot strike. When I was doing (informal) research e about walking and knee pain, I came across several videos emphasizing the point about the heel strike puts more strain on the back and knees.

    I'm not yet at a point where I can run, but I think I'll get there someday!

    I had to nod my head in agreement when you spoke of stubbing your toe causing a huge knee flare up. So true!! I remember so many times where I would do a little stumble on the sidewalk or a tiny trip and then DREAD that I might have set in motion huge flare up ...except I knew I wouldn't find out for about 24 hours. Sigh.

    But sounds like those days are over for you and I hope they are I over for me, too.

  4. Hi Richard
    Its a honor to here your reply to my comment.

    This is the second reply to yours the first one I was not logged into and it seemed to disappear. So there may be 2 of them.

    The forefoot strike I should have figured out sooner. I noticed I could run lightly up hills without adverse effects but when running on flat surfaces did have day after pain and swelling. A sign of swelling for me was cracking of the affected knee joint. When I read the blog on the trail runner with the roots a light bulb went off in my head for the forefoot method.

    I had to move my daughter into a old 2 story house for college about a year ago. I was not looking forward to it. I was a point in my knee rehab that I thought it would set me back damage wise. It was a hot day and as all girls my daughter had a lot of stuff to move. I was up and down the stairs a lot and the leg muscles were burning and the sweat was dripping. I tried to be careful on the knee. On the drive home I was dreading what the knee would be like the next day. The next day came around and the knee to my surprise felt better then it ever did. So I felt pretty strongly that getting a burn in the legs with hi reps is a key to knee rehab. I now do a lot of squats, lunges, and other exercises that use the knee joint. Hi reps low weight. I had to start slow though. I have also learned that certain types of knee bends feels a little stiff/achy when I do them. I will work that area hard until the stiffness goes away. Might be arthritis trying to move into a once damaged joint, or remnants of runners knee don't know but it works great for me. The knee aches are slim to none now.

    The walking was great for me but I felt as though I plateaued out and needed more. The above worked for me to get me over the edge. Of coarse in the beginning I had to go slow and be patient. Being patient was the toughest thing for me.

    I went for a 3 1/2 mile run tonight in a very rooted trail. I stubbed my toe my bad leg(Good now, left one) pretty bad and did a face plant. Believe it or not I got up laughing. Just very happy to be running it. The knee was and will not be a problem, toe hurts pretty bad though.

    The below quote pretty much sums it up for me trying to figure runners knee out.

    The obscure we see eventually. The completely obvious, it seems, takes longer.
    Edward R. Murrow


    1. That's great, Ron! I had someone else suggest a Facebook page. I'll look into it again. I've refrained from some forms of "self-publicizing," such as Twitter, because honestly it's more time commitment and my life is too full of time commitments at the moment. But if it's possible to create a Facebook page, and just make it a place for people to hang out (and help each other), I think that'd be cool.

      On the walking: Yup, you will hit a plateau after a while. For me, the walking was an intermediate step to getting back to vigorous, sweating activity (which at first was walking straight uphill, when my knees could tolerate that). Baby steps! And patience is most definitely a virtue ...

    2. Richard
      I was little cocky in the previous post.(karma) I pushed pretty hard 1 1/2 weeks ago. I ran a 8 1/2 minute mile pace through trails and hills for 4 1/2 miles. Guess what, I ended up with a stress fracture in my metatarsal,left foot or so it looks like. X-Rays don't usually show stress fractures at first. I'm finding out a common injury for barefoot runners. After not running for 2 1/2 years because of runners knee I should have known better to push it at 57 years old. The doctor told me the bad news of not being able to run for 6 weeks. I laughed and told him after not running for 2 1/2 plus years because of runners knee 6 weeks is nothing. I did tell him about your book and he seemed genuinely interested. He has clients that have runner's knee.
      Richard I think there is another chapter in your book left to write... When you have your knee's 100% cured you will be able to write it. Good luck on the journey.

      Facebook could do wonders for your book.