Knee Problems and Weight

I am fucking terrified, pardon my klatchian. My mother spent most of my teen years in pain, unable to walk far because her knees hurt. In the last 3 years she has had three operations on her knees, two partial replacements and a full replacement of her joints. She is approximately 55, which is very young for this operation.

I am 26. Since I increased in size from an 18/20 to a 20/22 and more recently to a 20/22 (UK sizes), I have had increasing twinges in my knees. They click when I go upstairs. The final straw was yesterday when I was at the gym. I’m doing a 100 miles in one month challenge, and it was raining – hence the elliptical machine, treadmill, and spinner/exercise bike. The treadmill? Fine. The Elliptical Trainer? Fine. The bike? Ow. It wasn’t blinding pain, but it was a definite feeling that something was just not right.

I’ve been very mood swingy the past couple of days. Money problems, and dissatisfaction with my job have upset my careful equilibrium. On the treadmill and the elliptical machine I simple put my music on, closed my eyes, and concentrated on my breathing. Great stress buster. Not as good as a walk along the top of the Malverns.

Malvern hills - one of my walks

Malvern Hills

Anyways, after the gym and sitting down yesterday evening all freshly laundered, my right knee was still aching slightly. I placed my hand over the knee cap and flexed the knee and the movement feels horribly rough and the worry of what happened to my mother just piled in on me. I have so much stuff that I love doing, and things I’d love to do again (like horse riding) that the thought of the pain my mother has gone through landing on me even sooner in my life than it did in hers was just….too much. An hour of sobbing and hating myself for getting fat enough to damage my knees was what ensued.  A really low moment. In the past, to calm myself down I would have had something to drink, made a cup of tea, or snacked on bread & butter.

This time my SO was there, and hugged me, and persuaded me to call up the doctor and make an appointment. I haven’t done this yet. I’m a little terrified of being told I need to lose weight and that my knee problem is my fault for eating too much. Blah. I don’t like that I fell into thinking like that about my weight. Aside from the correlation between increasing in weight and the onset of knee pain, there is nothing to say that this was brought about by being fat. It could simply be from training badly.



~ by Pewter on June 10, 2009.

9 Responses to “Knee Problems and Weight”

  1. If it’s any consolation, what you’re describing sounds like my knee problems, which are NOT caused by weight (my kneecaps don’t track quite right) and is helpable with physical therapy.

  2. I would highly recommend seeing a physiotherapist instead of a GP at all. Most GPs unfortunately will blame your weight or tell you they don’t know what the hell it is. I had a creaky knee, mentioned it to my GP, and she reckoned it was looming osteoarthritis. (Dramatic music here) My physiotherapist had a prod and poke of it and declared it had no signs of degeneration whatsoever, and proceeded to show me two easy exercises to strengthen a particular muscle that was apparently weakened by my not wearing proper shoes 😛 And I am a UK 26-30 too. No knee problems now.

    You don’t need a GP referral to see a physio here in Australia, so you can avoid them thankfully. 🙂 Am not sure what the process is in the UK. I really love physiotherapists. I have had about a 95% hit rate with them (eg they knew what was wrong and fixed it) as opposed to maybe 20% from GPs and even specialists like ENTs and allergists.

    • As far as I can tell from the NHS website, I will need a referral from my GP. Unless I go private, of course, which I can’t afford (and don’t have insurance for.) I’ll be ringing up for a 10 minute appointment tomorrow morning (we have to call the same day), so I’ll see where it goes from there.

      Thank you for sharing your experiences though 🙂

  3. Often, shortly after I get off my bike, I realize that I am in pain because I have lousy technique, and put undue strain on my knees that way.

    The best-case scenario is the doc finds something up with your knees that can actually be helped. Which you’ll never know if you don’t go see one.

    • Yeah, I had no problems with cycling when I lived in holland, so this pain was something of a shock. My knee feels ‘tight’ but not painful, if that makes sense.

  4. If it helps, there’s been research that fat people often put less torque on their knees than thin people. Almost like we adapt our gait to fit the body we have and not the body we “should” have. This post has more info.

  5. I think a physiotherapist is a really good idea (and one that I shall have to bear in mind). I did just want to mention that I, like you, have knee problems and have put off mentioning them for the same reasons. What I do know is that I was in desperate need of good, supportive shoes and getting them has made a difference in how my knees flex, which has helped the pain AND, my “normal” weight husband just had to have knee surgery because he tore his ACL playing footie.


    See about a physiotherapist, buy new shoes if you think yours might be worn down from all that activity you might be doing, and take deep breaths. I think all of us know how you feel and are sending our support…these kinds of issues strike at the heart of my own issues surrounding my weight and I suspect that’s true for most of us.

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