Posts Tagged ‘Knees’

checkeredsneakersAlong with a laundry list of declining health issues due to my massive obese self, my knees aided in my decision to have weight loss surgery May of 2011. I’ve lost around 140 pounds (it floats up and down depending on what I have stuffed in my mouth, how much sodium I’ve consumed…and whatever long jargon you can fathom for “haven’t been 100% focused”).

My staircase pre-op was a major obstacle. My landlord had to reinforce the staircase so it wouldn’t wobble when I waddled up (it wobbled without my waddle – my obesity did not cease the waddle wobble). My weight made the motion of stepping viciously painful. My knees would scream like I had rail road spikes driven through them. It was 19 steps to the top.

It is still 19 steps to the top.

As the weight started to drop, my activity level skyrocketed. Stairs – eh- touch and go. In October of 2011 I physically could not do the stair workout at the gym with my trainer (17 steps to the top). The pain was unreal (so I thought-apparently it gets worse). So he incorporated other activities. I did try spin for several months, got hooked on boxing drills, totally dug weights & TRX (I’m sick, I know); did cave into the elliptical even though I complained about it all the time. By January of 2012 I could do the stair workout. I had a 40lb weight loss before I resumed the activity. A few months later I tried a stair climber and fell right off. I discovered the row machine. I took a header over a stack of risers in front of about 50 people. I also attempted jumping rope.

If you ever want a lesson on how to hang yourself with a rubber tube via pony-tail, let me know.

I desperately wanted to run. I signed up for a 5K last spring, my knees wouldn’t cooperate. I would sign up for two more 5K’s and a marathon over the next 12 months, but the outcome was the same: knees wouldn’t cooperate. So I resolved myself to the fact I will not be a runner.

So I got into outdoor workouts, those were fun. Not so much for my knees. I do have to have my right knee replaced, like soon (2014 – probably before Spring). Still – my knees have gotten progressively worse in the past five months, and…

…my staircase has become an obstacle.


Coupled (or quadrupled – it’s a glass half full/empty thing) with all of the changes I’ve gone through since surgery, this knee thing has slammed me into a corner. I mean, I lost 140lbs and am about in tears by the 14th step (remember: there are 19-I count them every day).

That’s where I was before the surgery, minus the tears.

It’s both pissed me off and gotten me depressed. Say what you will, all of my accomplishments over the past 29 months feel completely quashed over this. I am so disappointed right now.

Final note: THIS situation should have been included in the insurance mandatory pre-surgery seminars I had to attend.

kneepainI have the crappiest knees. They sound like potato chips being smashed in a chip bag when they bend due to barely any cartilage under the knee caps, and because I was obese for so long my leg muscles pulled my kneecaps outward, so they maltrack at 50%. Suffice it to say, I’m in pain on a daily basis – where I land on the pain scale (i.e. 1-10) depends on what activities I do. My doctors have recommended low or non-impact activities. I do some street biking, I’ve given spin a shot (love it, new gym doesn’t offer it). Everyone has suggested the pool – for the record: I do not do public pools (I think mud puddles are safer). My trainer & I modify exercises which impact my knee joints.

That doesn’t mean I don’t try. Seriously, be severely obese your entire adult life and then NOT be obese. It’s a thrill ride to see what I can do!

However, I should know by now not to do impact-type stuff the weekend your trainer has you kick Ralph (heavy bag). But you know what? At least I practice what I preach. Today I’m sporting two very swollen, very painful knees. So while I’m sitting here bonding with some very blue ice packs, thought I’d share a few tips to help you manage knee pain:

Home Treatment (what you do to avoid going to the doctor, urgent care, ortho, raid the pain reliever aisle at CVS):

  • Rest: Seems like a dumb thing to say, but you’d be surprised how many stubborn people (cough-cough) keep going instead of taking a break from activities that cause or irritate knee pain. When you do declare a surrender and wave the white flag, put a small pillow under your knees.
  • Ice: Dumb thing #2. The tissue surrounding the joints are swollen, and in my case the joints have fluid. It’s a lot of pressure and pain. If you’ve torqued your knee (cough-cough), apply ice immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. It’s recommended to do this 10-20 minutes 3 or more times a day. The ice will help reduce the swelling, which will help the pain. I do better with actual bags of ice, versus ice packs.
  • Compression: Wrap the knee with an ace bandage. Use a knee brace with side stabilizers to help prevent more damage (these are helps – not solutions!). You can also use K-Tape (totally amazing). If your knees are super swollen, wait a few days to do these. Otherwise the compression could cause more swelling above or below your injured area, or cut off blood flow.
  • Raise ‘Em: Prop them up on pillows while icing, and while sitting. Put a movie or your favorite show on, or have a good read with you so you don’t get antsy.
  • Reduce Stress: Use a cane, crutches, don’t walk if you don’t have to. Definitely don’t do box jumps for a few days.
  • NSAIDs: Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn). Aspirin. NSAIDs are not recommended for persons with ulcers, touchy tummies, or have had weight loss surgery of any kind. DON’T USE NSAIDs 24 hours after an injury. They could cause clotting problems and encourage more bruising from bleeding under the skin.
  • Non-NSAIDs: Tylenol, or see your doctor if you need something stronger.

Web-MD has some exercises you can do, too. They’re for osteoarthritis, but they’re helpful for other knee issues. As always, consult your doctor if you’re not sure, because SPDiaries is not a replacement for sound, clear, logical medical advice!