Hello Fit Feminist community!
I’ve so enjoyed my monthly posts here, but I wanted to let you know this will be my last regular post for a while. It feels like a good time for me to turn my focus to other things that have been asking for my attention. I hope to do an occasional guest post and will, of course, continue to read! Thank you so much for having me as a regular contributor, for reading my reflections, and for your thoughtful and supportive comments.
Let’s get to it!
Last year I wrote about my knee injury and the moderate toll it took on my mental state. In passing I’ve heard that knees strongly correspond to our feelings of control and stability, and that knee injury sufferers often feel a loss of control. At the same time, I’m grateful I’m not alone. Sam’s written here about her knee injury, and in the comments on my last knee post, there were so many readers who discussed their own knee woes.
Since my injury, I’ve also noticed increased pain and tension in my hips and glutes, which requires regular attention. Apparently, this is one of the most common side-effects from knee-injury-sufferers. Hips work harder to compensate for injured knees. (Have any other knee injury sufferers noticed this??) It’s sort of cool to think that my body has my back in this way. But at the same time, the regular hip and butt pain isn’t so cool.
In one of the comments on my previous post, a reader wrote about a friend who also suffered a knee injury. This friend spent so much time and effort rehabilitating their knee that it became stronger than the uninjured knee! This comment inspired me.
I’ll admit to being a little loosey-goosey with my own knee exercises now that my knee is mostly better. Of course, I’ve continued physio therapy and will do quad and knee exercises—but not with the kind of commitment that it would take to make my injured knee super strong.
I’ve been wanting to return to activities I used to love, like dance and martial arts. Additionally, my partner and I started working out together at a new gym near our house and it’s made me want to take up other activities together—for instance, I’d love to play squash together someday.
But then I remember my knee, and the fear of re-injury literally stops me from wanting to try anything challenging. I know that higher impact activities will demand a certain level of knee strength and stability. And there’s also a level of spontaneity involved in these activities one can’t always control. (There’s that fear of control loss again!)
At the same time, I was letting that fear stop me. And I wasn’t taking back my control of the situation and being proactive. I was also letting other people’s knee advice influence me. People who have suffered similar knee issues have told me things about never fully recovering, of never being able to do certain activities again, etc. And I suppose on some level I took their word for it. “Why work on something if I’m only going to fail?” Was my subconscious thought. “Other people seem to know better.”
More broadly, this is something I find myself constantly having to push back against (both in the fitness world and world at large): knowing when to listen to other people and when not to. Especially in terms of women’s fitness, there is such a high level of B.S. out there. But I have been inspired by the defiant spirit of the Fit is a Feminist Issue community. From the comment about knee strengthening to Tracy I.’s post about doing chin-ups.
The idea of being able to get an injured knee to be stronger than an uninjured one was such a simple thought that opened my eyes to many other things. Maybe I’ll achieve that, or maybe I’ll get close. But I can’t keep merely hoping it’ll be okay. Either way, it’s certainly better to try than to deprive myself of the activities I crave.
Thanks, Fit Feminists!