Sep 26, 2009

Strengthen the Feeble Knees

By Christine Thackeray

Four years ago my knees went out. After sustained bed rest due to a difficult pregnancy, the surrounding muscles atrophied to the point that my knee caps were totally out of alignment and crunch every time I bend my leg. At the time I went to physical therapy, and they gave me a variety of exercises that encouraged leg bends which made my knees swell and only seemed to exasperate the problem. After a year of consistent work, I stopped trying because my legs were worse.

A few weeks ago my husband was putting on his socks and turned to me out of the blue and said, "Why don't we go to Israel?"

I've always dreamed of going and everything has fallen into place for the trip, except I'm really worried about my knees. After one day at Disneyland this summer I had to have my legs up for two days to bring down the swelling and recover. How can I do ten days in Israel?

So I went back to a different physical therapist. I talked to him about my problems, and he told me that the way to strengthen my knees was to begin with my feet and ankles. Then work on my thighs so that all the supporting muscles were doing what they should. He agreed that any knee work was both ineffective and detrimental.

THANK YOU! This week I've started doing the ankle and feet exercises and even started working on the eliptical without pain our swelling. It is miraculous.

What I kick myself for is that this is a principle I already know. It's part of the concept of "succoring the weary." When we succor or serve people, we don't live their lives for them, but give them the strenghth or help in areas we can to alleviate enough stress that they can cope with what they need to on their own. Like bringing dinner to a new mom or scrubbing the kitchen and bathrooms of someone who has been too depressed to do it themselves or just hanging out with a mom who is struggling with activity. Sometimes supporting people in other areas can have a powerful effect on different but connected challenges in their lives.

It is interesting that the scripture that talks about feeble knees also talks about succoring:

Wherefore, be faithful; stand in the office which I have appointed unto you; succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees.

This concept of indirect support applies to so many things from being somewhere on time to improving our writing to getting our son to plan his eagle project. Wow. So I'm pointing and flexing, lifting each toe separately and working on balance with a big smile on my face. Who knew?


  1. Good insights, Christine. Thanks for your post.

  2. Hey Christine, Good posting today.

    I have an idea that might give you some help. Have you ever heard of "Z Coil" Shoes?

    I had severe pain from faciatius (spelling?) in both feet and my knees and hips began to have trouble due to trying to compensate.

    We had a trip to Disneyland planned and I was getting desperate. My sister had a pair of "Z Coils" and told me how much they had helper her.

    I bought a pair two days before our trip. They warned me to ease into them by only wearing them an hour a day for the first week.

    Well, I wore them all day long the entire trip, without the break in period. I walked miles around Disneyland during that week. I came home COMPLETELY CURED!!!

    I now own three pair and wear them once or twice a month to keep my body aligned.

    They are a bit pricey, around $160-$200 per pair, but they saved my life. The podiatrist had suggested surgery. I just smile at him now---he's in my ward---and tell him I cured it myself.

    Z Coils are recommended for foot, leg, knee, hip and back pain.

    Let me know if you decide to try them.

  3. I love Israel! My family lived there for 2+ years and it was beyond amazing. You'll have an amazing time.

  4. Christine, I needed to read your post! Thank you for these wonderful insights and for putting into words, thoughts that have been milling around in my head for weeks. I love experiencing the Aha! moment you gave to me today. You're an angel!

  5. Yes compensating for "feeble" knees is hard. I go kickboxing once a week (among other exercises) and those 20 somethings are so quick. I just appreciate the fact that I can do what they do just much slower.


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