2 Patients with knee Pain and completely different Health 

I had two patients with knee discomfort* on my schedule last week, one after the other, and their differences in health were startling.

Both were 43 year-old females.  Both had knee discomfort*.  But, one was a smoker who was more than 100lbs overweight and suffering with chronic, bilateral knee discomfort*.  The other lived and breathed health and fitness, but had twisted her knee at a CrossFit workout earlier that morning.  As you can likely guess, the first patient has a far worse prognosis than the second.

It frustrates me when I see people not taking care of themselves.  I work in a sports-based clinic and most of my patients live a very active lifestyle, so perhaps you could say that I’m surrounded by a unique population that heightens my sensitivity to poor health choices.  However, I see the incredible benefits of fitness and nutrition decisions on healing rates, so my sensitivity is appropriately placed.

What to do

We can improve the biomechanics of the first patient’s knees.  We can strengthen her lower limbs, we can reduce inflammation, we can even decrease her discomfort* levels.  But we cannot eliminate the extra compression and degeneration that an extra 100lbs creates on knee joints or the decreased soft tissue healing rates that smoking creates.  Manual therapy can only do so much.  The same can be said for extreme stress, a sedentary lifestyle, and non-compliance; as healthcare practitioners, we can only do so much to neutralize the health consequences of a patient’s choices.

So I will continue to help her with her knee discomfort*, and I will continue to educate her on the biomechanics of the body and advise her on treatment and lifestyle recommendations. Do your best, the rest is up to them. Primum non nocere.

Dr. Ashley Worobec, Rocktape Ambassador