Monday, March 3, 2008


I've been benched.

No squats. No lunges. Physical therapy. And the clincher - no interval training on the treadmill. At least, that's the word from the doctor at the orthopedic clinic where I went to have my knee checked.

In the time between making the appointment and actually showing up, my knee pain had all but disappeared. I had been running every day and felt fine; I attributed my knee pain to a change in the weather and getting older. I felt silly walking into the doctor's office and sitting among people with actual problems just to complain about a little knee pain.

I left in a knee brace with a prescription for physical therapy.

The good news - I can still run at a steady pace, I can still do dead lifts (my favorite), the leg press (another fave), and the leg extension (my absolute LEAST favorite). I can still do interval training, albeit on the elliptical machine. So, all is not lost.

The bad news - I have a knee cap issue. When I forlornly told this to my husband, he began to laugh, because he knows all about my knee cap anxiety. As an elementary school student, I witnessed the stomach-turning collision between a girl's knee cap and a speeding wayward soccer ball, and the mental image has haunted me since. The subsequent ambulance arrival, six weeks in a cast, and scar to prove it turned me into a knee-cap-safety activist. I became very protective of my knee caps and was vigilant about maintaining their integrity. If I ever sensed that my knee caps might be compromised, I went into ninja-mode and did whatever was necessary to keep them safe. So, to be told that my knee pain was the result of a "knee cap issue," was the equivalent of bringing home a new puppy and seeing it bite your child.

But I'm a fighter. I learned how to put on my knee brace and promised to wear it for every workout. I made my appointment with the physical therapist. And I didn't even complain as I climbed onto the elliptical and sent a sideways look to my lonely treadmill. I figure, I can sit around and bitch about this or I can look on the bright side and be glad that I don't need to have surgery.

One thing is troubling however - the knee brace is emblazoned with a logo for whatever company made it, and for some reason they chose a stick figure of a person with half a leg. One full leg and one half. I am sure that this logo was created by some brilliant marketing expert, sent to focus groups, and chosen for its modern, clean lines. But giving someone a knee brace decorated with the image of someone with half of their leg missing gives one reason to pause. Maybe that is their way of driving their point home. Wear this knee brace, or suffer the consequences.

I hope I am not benched for long; I love my workouts and hate that I have had limitatons placed on them. But at the same time, I am trying to keep things in perspective; complaining about a little inconvenience when that poor little stick figure lost half a leg is really selfish. It is not worth jeapordizing my long-term health for a short-term gain. So, I will take a knee (pun intended) and sit on the bench for a few rounds.

But don't count me out just yet.

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