Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Plea for “Real” Knee Exercise Models

Are you also tired of seeing models that look like this demonstrating the proper exercises to rehabilitate your bad knees? (The headline for this article: Knee Pain? Start Doing These Exercises ASAP)

And of course demonstrating “these exercises” are a number of women who are very toned, with pleasant faces, wearing that kind of tight-fitting workout clothing that you don’t put on (if you’re smart) unless you have sub 6 percent body fat.

What do you think is the chance that the models shown here are actually battling the kind of chronic knee pain that causes them to dissolve into tears and wonder if their lives will ever be normal again?

Yup, I’d say one in a million sounds about right.

So I’d like to advocate for “real” knee exercise models. Models we can believe in. Models we can look at and silently cheer, “Yes, you can beat this thing, hang in there!”

Instead we get these cheery fitness freaks whose barely suppressed smiles seem to be saying, “God, if you only knew how pathetically easy this exercise is for me!”

You’ll see there are a lot of recommendations here, a full page. And all of the “knee pain” models handle the exercises with ease. But if you’ve got delicate knees and bad pain, I wouldn’t recommend doing a number of these unless you want to wind up with even worse pain.

8 comments:

  1. The more research I do on this whole knee pain thing, including communicating with people who have knee pain, the more it seems that knee pain falls into one of two categories:

    1, The type of pain Richard (and I) had/have which is a constant, nagging burning/ache. This type of pain actually feels worse after exercise, but there is no clear increase in pain during exercise (in fact it might feel a bit better during exercise). But too much of the wrong exercise definitely sets it back. This pain tends to be diffuse and move around the anterior and medial parts of the knee. In my case, while I think it has a cartilage damage element, it seems it also has a CRPS element as the nerve calming medication I'm on (Lyrica) definitely reduces the pain (and Lyrica is NOT an anti-inflammatory....though it is a drug I'm not over the moon about taking, and hence stick to very low doses). My knees are often cold and discoloured (purple with red blotches), which my GP says is typical of the circulatory flow disruption caused by CRPS.

    2. The type of pain which clearly instantly worse with exercise, and tends to be in a more specific focused spot in the knee. My guess is this is a straight cartilage damage problem.

    Anyhow, I'm progressing slowly since starting Lyrica, have a program which focusses on strengthening the whole chain from hips to feet, can do a few minutes of jogging on a treadmill, can do a fair bit of kicking when I swim, can do an easy 20min cycle. But I'm nowhere near out of the woods yet, and still have setbacks when I overdo it.

    cheers, TriAgain

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  2. TriAgain, you might add a 3rd one... The one that, like the 1st type you describe, gets better during exercise (moderate), feels like a constant burning, never easy to pinpoint exactly. Feels worse when sitting for long periods.
    But unlike the one you describe, there is NO cartilage damage. And everything else is intact, tendons, ligaments, etc. I've just received the results of an MRI on both knees and I'm puzzled. Aside from a little fluid on the left knee and a tiny loose fragment of something (bone, cartilage, who knows) on the right one, which cannot possibly cause the pain according to the GP, there is nothing that explains the pain.
    I'm due to see the sport specialist again. However, the last time, he had sent me straight to the in house physio who had me do series of squats so I'm a bit scared. Maybe this time he will take a proper look at my knees when he sees the MRI. Or go to a different one?

    Anyway, TriAgain, I'd look at the glass half full. You have progressed greatly in the last few months. I would love to be able to do 20min of gentle cycling and kicking in the pool. Your experience is inspiring, I hope to be there in a few months' time

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    1. Well deloupy, one interesting thing is the Sports Dr who I saw (who is the doc for one of the top national Rugby League teams here in Oz) looked at my MRI's and pointed out fissures in the cartilage on the back of my kneecaps. He said many Drs don't notice these, or recognise them as important.

      On the upside, fissures have to be better than having a big chunk missing, though the symptoms still suck.

      cheers, TriAgain

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    2. My hubby said the same, a MRI wouldn't show everything. But as long as I know there is no major damage, I'm fine with this. I'm on the way up, the knee is much better than it was weeks ago. I installed a step counter on my phone and I think I know when I have to stop before overdoing it. Fissures I guess will heal the same way as the rest - with patience!

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  3. TriAgain,
    Sorry to see you are still not out of the woods. Me too. (this is the person who posts as KneePain).

    Add another knee pain type, please, which is the type where you do not hurt at all while doing an exercise, but then 24-48-72 hours later you have Sharp Stabbing knee pain indicating that I once again over did it. Then I have to just let it calm down over 1, 2, 3 weeks before starting again.

    I go up & down in my fortitude to conquer this. Right now I'm in an upswing, so, feeling good that I will be able to slowly heal on cartiledge time and making progress.

    KneePain

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  4. What I'm noticing now is that if I overdo it, I only suffer for a day, not several days.

    I'm also doing a lot of quite radical hip/glute/knee/calf/foot strengthening & balance work now, which my knees seem to cope with much better. would not have dreamed of doing this stuff 3 months ago.

    I've also been doing regular myofacial work on a roller for my legs, and using backballs for my spine.

    So 2 years on, and I seem to be making some real progress now.

    Which leads me to a question for Richard - how did you know when it was time to start pushing things again (e.g. start cycling again) and were you entirely pain-free when you started doing that?

    TriAgain

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    1. I was in pretty good shape, TriAgain. I don't recall exactly how my knees felt when I resumed cycling (by the way, I started out at a very easy pace, spinning a lot and working my legs very little). I was still working through some issues of discomfort while sitting, but they were minor by that point.

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    2. I have a suspicion that lots of sitting is a major part of this type of knee problem. When I go on holidays and walk around a lot, I get significant improvement. Even scambling up and down uneven river banks while fishing. Other people with knee troubles tell me the same. This week, after overdoing my exercises (again!) and having a big setback, on Friday out of frustration I set my laptop up so I could alternate between standing and sitting to work and got an almost immediate improvement in pain levels. I would stand for almost an hour, then sit for maybe 10-15mins, then stand again.

      TriAgain

      TriAgain

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