“Do you have a plan to get fit?” a pleasant voice asked.
At the time, it struck me as deeply ironic.
We accept the need for a plan to build muscle strength and improve cardiovascular fitness. But that’s child’s play compared with managing knee pain, with an eye toward actually getting better. If the former requires a half-page plan, the latter demands something like three pages of detailed notes.
Yet how many knee pain sufferers are there who just muddle along, day to day, and never try to plot a path toward healing?
Broadly, what should go into a plan for beating knee pain?
I think it helps to start with a realistic appraisal of your condition. And be willing to be humbled. You may want to start out walking three miles a day; your knees may quickly tell you that they can only do half that much comfortably.
Also, of course, you have to decide what your regimen will consist of, day to day, in terms of walking/cycling/swimming/other joint-friendly activities, and how much of each.
Not too hard so far -- rather like designing a workout program in fact. Here’s where it gets tough. You need to be able to adjust on the fly, and play medical detective.
Example: You wake up one morning during week five and your bad knee is really stiff. Oh no! What do you do? You have to be able to ease off for a few days -- or even a few weeks, if needed. Also you need to try to figure out what may have caused the stiffness, so you can avoid doing that again.
So you want to keep some kind of knee journal, to make sure your plan is working and help guide you in revising your plan as your knee gets stronger (yay!) -- and also help you figure out what went wrong when your knee gets worse (ugh!).
To beat knee pain, I’m convinced you need a thorough, though flexible, plan. It may sound challenging. But the rewards are great if you succeed!