Saturday, December 22, 2012

Celebrating “Take Knee Pain Seriously Day"

Today is “Take Knee Pain Seriously Day.”

If you’re puzzled because you’ve never heard of this special day, that’s understandable. I just invented it myself a few moments ago -- but for a good reason.

One thing I learned, after overcoming chronic knee pain, was that early on I wasted months thrashing about, unsure of what to do. While this may sound bad, I’m convinced that most people with similar knee pain waste years.

One mistake I made (and that I bet many others make too) is that I didn’t take the pain seriously enough, especially during those first few months. Acting early is the best, easiest way to escape being stuck with a long-term condition that just worsens and worsens.

Here are some signs you may not be taking your knee pain as seriously as you should:

You’re willing to modify your physical workouts/lifestyle ... but not by much.

You decide not to run for a week. Or you shave a few miles off your run. Or, in my case, I resolved to keep cycling over the same challenging routes, and the same steep climbs as before, only “taking it easier” (which I sometimes did and sometimes didn’t). The radical step of abandoning the bike completely didn’t come until later.

You tell yourself “I’ll just give the knee a few weeks to get better, no problem.”

This is a typical early-stage reaction to knee trouble. But most knee issues don’t occur overnight -- and the cure certainly doesn’t either.

So if you’re serious about getting better, you need to give yourself enough time (and have a long-range plan too by the way).

You don’t bother to educate yourself about your condition.

In my eyes, this is another sign of a lack of seriousness, especially after doctors tell you they can’t help -- or what help they do suggest (short of surgery) just doesn’t prove that satisfying.

In that case, you absolutely have to make every effort to help yourself. You have to try to understand better what you’re suffering from and the various explanations of and treatments for it.

Finally, in closing, here’s the irony of “Take Knee Pain Seriously Day.”

At least 90 percent of people reading this blog post, I’m willing to bet, are taking their knee pain seriously. They know they’re in trouble, and they’re willing to be patient about achieving a solution.

The irony is that the people who most need to hear this message don’t even know it yet.


  1. Sounds good!

    One of my challenges that I had to overcome was that I thought about knee pain mainly only for the 30 minutes I was doing my therapy exercises. I thought i was doing all I could and I let knee pain take a back seat while other matters took my attention.

    Then finally I took on what I call a Totally Obsessed approach in which I engaged with my knee pain intellectually, emotionally and physically. So, I read about knee pain and did research and watched YouTube videos and read books (that is how I found Richards book), I journaled about how my knee was doing and where exactly it hurt during or after what activity.

    I got better aquainted with my knee pain by giving names to the different pain locations -- so for example instead of just saying "IT HURTS!" I would pay attr to To exactly where it hurts and give it a name.... So then later if I do something and my knee hurts in the same place it's something I'm acquainted with, can possible see patterns, and can recognize improvement over time. For example, a pain I named Snappy used to speak up when I did a gentle leg press, but, then over time Snappy spoke more and more quietly until finally one day Snappy stayed sleeping through the whole routine.

    I tried different types of exercises and journaled about how my knee was reacting. I tried different types of knee therapy. I kept going to check ups with my doctor to keep her informed as to how I am doing.

    If someone asked me how my knee was doing, instead of a vague answer, I could pinpoint my progress and what my next steps were going to be.

    My knee finally made major improvements over many months. Unfortunately I had a huge setback so my journey is not over yet. But, now knowing that this Totally Obsessed technique works I am very encouraged and I know for a FACT that it is possible for me to walk without pain. I will try again and hope to reach even higher levels of knee health and be able to once again go dancing! :)

  2. Thank you for your blog. I stumbled onto it when I had nowhere else to turn. After reading it a few hours I started riding my exercise bicycle a half hour a day. (no load, effortless pedaling. A couple days after I started I was walking at work and I was perplexed. My knees felt supergreased. Then I remembered what you said about new knees. I try to be more careful with them now so they can heal.