Sunday, November 6, 2016

That “Come to Jesus Moment” About the Strength of Your Knees

A “come to Jesus moment” (which originally meant that moment when you accept Jesus as your savior) has entered the popular vernacular to represent more broadly an epiphany or a flash of enlightenment.

Have you had your “come to Jesus moment” about the strength of your knees?

Not having this moment, I think, is a great impediment to getting on track with a successful plan of long-term healing.

What happens is you muddle along, believing the right things, doing many of the right things, but they’re all geared for a knee that’s about two or three times as strong as your knee actually is.  You may not realize it, but your progress is constantly being undermined.

It’s all because you don’t realize how weak your bad knee is. So you’re always being careful, but you’re also often outside of your proper “envelope of function.”

When my come to Jesus moment came, I remember thinking: “No, no. My knees aren’t really that weak. It’s impossible. I can’t be that bad.” But then I remember this sick feeling, “Yes they are, and yes you have to accept this. You have to start at the bottom to get to the top.”

That’s when I started walking around a swimming pool every ten minutes. Walking, then resting, walking, then resting. Nothing more strenuous than that. And after a few weeks, I noticed that I was getting better, but at the same time, it was depressing to realize the depth of the hole I was in.

Still, if you ask me, “When did you really get on a  long-term path to healing?”, I would identify walking around that swimming pool as the beginning. The later successes built off that. But to start there, I had to have a “come to Jesus moment” about the strength of my knees.

Have you had yours?


  1. I've had a few such moments but the one that had the most impact happened less than 2 weeks ago. I tried gently wading in the chest-high water of a swimming pool in an attempt to find a form of exercise that wouldn't aggravate my knees. I was under the mistaken impression that walking in water would be ideal because the water would support my body weight, leaving my knee joints free to just go through the motions of walking. At the 20 minute mark, I felt some slight discomfort in the worst of my knees but it seemed to pass quickly. I persisted, believing the water made me 'safe.' Big mistake! I left the water after 30 minutes to avoid 'overdoing it' and my worse left knee felt really strange. Four hours later, both my knees were painful and the left was so stiff I could no longer walk on it. I had to return to using crutches and McConnell taping in order to mobilise. It was a harsh reminder that after 2 years, I have not made any real progress with my knees.

    Amy S

    1. I feel your pain Amy! I had to give up water walking because - although water does a good job of offsetting gravity - it also provides enough resistance that it's very easy to knock a fragile knee in a direction knees are not supposed to go. I mostly use water as a 'resting' activity now.

      BTW, I've gone full-on analysis/experimentation much like Richard did. I have yet to establish a clear path to recovery, but I am publishing my efforts:

      (I had to use Google docs because I started with that and when I was ready to go public, I was too disabled to put in the necessary computer time to get all the entries, formatting, etc. into Wordpress.)

  2. I had a similar moment this past March when I realised all the gradual walking (in and out of swimming pool) had added up to reduced pain in both knees. At some point in May my knees stopped hurting at rest.
    Right now I would say I have recovered 90%. I can walk almost 10kms without any pain and can bike around 20kms. My knees dont hurt after activity like they used to. I can do around 400 reps of the total trainer at level 10 (highest) without any pain. My right knee which is weaker still gets mildly sore from time to time but it goes away in a few minutes. The only thing that seems to bother my knees and other joints is hot weather. I just came back from Hawaii and walking around in the burning sun definitely caused some soreness.
    Overall its taken me 10 months to get to this stage. The total trainer has done some magic. I would highly recommend it.

    1. What do you do on the total trainer Superman?
      Can you give us an overview of the exercises you do on it, where you started and how you progressed?

    2. Did you buy a total trainer or did you find a gym that has one?

    3. Superman, it's fantastic to hear how well you're doing! Thanks so much for the inspiration! When you were walking around in Hawaii, did you walk regularly in deep beach sand? The reason I'm curious about this is because walking on uneven ground, and especially in deep sand, has exacerbated pain and inflammation in my knees in the past, especially in my worse left one. I just wondered if that might have been a factor in the soreness you experienced, perhaps even more so than the hot weather?

    4. Hey guys,
      I bought a total trainer used on Craigslist ( Its been the best purchase I made. I started with doing 100-200 squats at level 7. I would also do some calf raises on the same machine just for additional workout. I chose level 7 because my knees were comfortable squatting at level 6 but would feel uncomfortable at level 7 (refer runners knee bible for more details). In the initial two weeks my knees would feel kinda sore after the workouts and I could hear a cracking noise during the squat. However over the weeks, I noticed the knees recovering from soreness at a faster rate. I also started icing the knees multiple times per day to get rid of the soreness (

      After about 4 weeks I was able to move to level 8. Repeating the process until I reached level 9. I would do my squats around 3 times a week and did gradual walking on the other days. I noticed that I was able to walk farther and farther without the usual symptoms of soreness and pain. Basically just listen to your knees and backoff (maybe take rest day) if they are still sore from previous day. However, you also have to keep pushing them and do the squats in order to build strength and get them used to the workout. Its a fine balance. All this while I was keeping a log of my workouts, pain levels at end of day. That helped me look at my actual progress without getting demotivated by temporary flareups.

      Recently, I took a vacation to Hawaii and noticed the hot weather + lots of walking/activities was causing soreness and pain at the end of the day. It would generally go away by resting at night and taking cold shower bath. I think the total trainer regimen had strengthened my muscles so the knees werent as stressed even though they felt sore. After Hawaii I knew I had healed my knees somewhat atleast.

      Now I am at level 10 (final level) on my total trainer and do about 200 reps. Two days on, one day off. Also do calf raises on the same machine (level 10). I have been trying to add around 4-5km of biking on the off day in order to diversify my activities.

      During the same time that I was started total trainer, I also started doing meditation using the headspace app. I dont know if it had any lasting impacts but I definitely stopped stressing and thinking about my pain all the time. I hadnt realized but living with the pain had made me really sensitive to even the tiniest discomfort in my knees. I learned to stop listening to my knees and trusting my regimen. I dont know if that makes sense.

      If you guys have any more questions I would be more than happy to answer.

    5. I used the video from 90 day knee arthritis remedy to learn about the total trainer squat. Its not that complicated. Feet shoulder width apart. Starting from straight bend knees until 90 degrees bent. Take 5 seconds to go up and down. You can speed up as your knees get better. The key is to start with a level at which your knees dont hurt and go up until they start hurting. Stick to high number of reps. I think Doug kelsey recommends something like 1000 reps. I never was able to do more than 400 in a day.

  3. Thanks Superman! This is a very thorough write-up.

    If anyone else is looking to buy a used total trainer, they might try also searching for "Pilates reformer". It's very similar to the total trainer, but much easier to find.

  4. Hey guys, long time no see.
    The moment I realized how bad my knees were was basically when I started to use the total trainer. My left knee was only able to stand 30% of my body weight. I started on level 3!