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Knee book

Amazon sent me an email a few weeks ago about a new book: Heal Your Own Knees, by a physical therapist. The description sounded good, although I wondered if it only discussed knee injuries, not knee joint disintegration - like arthritis. I couldn't tell, but the book didn't cost much so I ordered it.

I picked up the book from my mailbox today. And it is what I have been looking for. It offers simple exercises to improve knee functioning, based solely on the function itself, not on what caused the knee problem. The author is a physical therapist at a large hospital, with a great deal of experience. But he doesn't just go on experience. He cites many different studies on knee problems, including some very interesting ones on arthritis.

He says there are four basic knee functions: muscle strength, flexibility, nerve awareness (there's a word for it - it refers to our ability to sense what our knees are doing), and endurance. He discusses each in turn, then offers simple exercises that don't require special equipment or a gym or money.

I figured out rather quickly why my swimming has been helpful. I try to keep my knees straight while swimming - this helps both my quadriceps and my hamstrings. I also found why flexibility is such a big issue for me: permanent fluid in the knee. He says a teaspoonful of liquid in there can severely limit flexibility as well as muscle power. This is an issue I might raise with the doctor I have seen twice now, when I am there for some other reason. That is, I'd like to find either a safe anti-inflammatory or another way to decrease the fluid retention in there. It may require sucking it out with a needle. In the meantime I can do the exercises. I did both the muscle strengthening and the flexibility exercises today, in very little time.

What excites me about this is that I may be able to avoid knee surgery altogether but still gain knee function and reduce pain.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
That's fantastic! FInding a decent book that is helpful is encouraging.
I'm going to check it out....I too have knee pain.
May. 7th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
What surprises me is that there is so little out there like this, that takes this sort of approach.

And what is interesting is that a lot of the things I work out intuitively have turned out to be true, according to a lot of studies. For example, one reason some people feel knee pain more than others with similar damage is the way they cope, their coping skills. I feel I have good coping skills and I talk myself into doing things to retain what capabilities I have, rather than give up, feeling I don't have any power over it. I suspect that this sense of power is really at the heart of the difference.

Not that I don't have any pain. But I am far more functional than many others I've met who have equal or lesser damage.

I highly recommend it! It's a little book, too, so there's no getting bogged down in it.
May. 8th, 2006 09:27 pm (UTC)
I hope this works for you, and that you can gain knee function.
May. 8th, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you. As I see it, three things should do wonders for me:

1. Some way to reduce the fluid in there. I'm averse to anti-inflammatories, used regularly, so am hoping to find an alternative.
2. Weight loss. Obvious.
3. THese exercises.

It's good to have a plan.
May. 8th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC)
Really, Judith, that's a powerful combination! I bet it really will help.

My very best wishes to you--I know this has been a long frustration for you.

BTW, I feel like playing Sims--help!! No!!
May. 8th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
Funny about the sims. I leave them, don't feel like getting into their grubby little lives, for weeks. Then I feel like going back, and can spend hours manipulating...

I tell myself it's a cheap enough addiction, and it isn't hurting my body.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


Judith Lautner
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