Shoulders and Knees, Oh Please

It’s been almost 4 months since my shoulder surgery, and a few days ago, I realized the tendon was finally reconnected to the bone and strengthening. Yahoo! Yesterday I was talking to Elmer Collett, former 49er guard and neighbor, about how when you’ve got an injury, it seems like it’ll never heal and then, one day, voila! You’re on the plus side of the situation. He knew exactly what I meant.

I had a bit of a setback, let it rest, then started doing rehab exercises, and in the last few days have started using my Vasa Trainer, a pulley type device for swimmers and surfers, which approximates paddling, and it felt OK. I’m gonna be able to surf again, not just sit on the beach or cliff and wistfully watch the action.

It was a dramatic change, in both function and mood.

The recoverability of the human body is awesome. Dr. Henry Bieler, in his great book “Food Is Your Best Medicine,” has a chapter titled “The Magnificent Human Body.” And so it is.

As to knees, I’ve had them both operated on. If I’d understood a few principles earlier on, I’d still be running The Dipsea Race. I wrecked the meniscus in each knee by too much fast downhill running. If’ I’d saved the kamikaze downhilling for races, it would have been fine. But once I developed the coordination, I pounded every down hill, a lot of times racing friends, at times, hate to admit it, showboating.

Maybe you know this, but if not: the meniscus is a disc of cartilage in between the tibia and femur. It’s a shock absorber and it can get shredded from overuse. When you hear someone talking about “bone on bone,” they mean the meniscus is gone.

SO, brother and sister runners: respect thy meniscus. Get an MRI (free if you’re over 65) to see what shape it’s in. I quit racing because I want to be walking when I’m 100.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

2 Responses to Shoulders and Knees, Oh Please

  1. Oh wow…thanks for posting this! I am a nurse and I often think about how hard running is on the body and wearing out the body too early means lower quality of life later. Of course, there are worse things you can do to your body so people who run are probably healthier than most overall. Food is your best medicine is such an important concept…if we just give our bodies the right "fuel" the body really does take care of itself. Nutrition is underrated. I'm glad you're healing and that your quality of life hasn't suffered too much. I have several of your books and I'm building my first little building in the backyard. I wanted to learn how to build. Today I'm going to complete installing a salvaged hardwood floor…materials were free except for the labor required to pull nails, stack the wood, and reinstall it. You are an amazing inspiration, so creative! Glad to hear you're still living the dream. Best wishes, Karen

  2. Glad you're healing up, Lloyd! An injury is one of my worst fears… I'm a triathlete so I'm sort of hoping the fact that I change it up constantly with the 3 sports will reduce injuries that might come from doing a single one excessively… and, yes, that would be running! It's good to hear your advice. I love your blog, it inspires me about how great getting older will be (I'm in my late 20's). you're one of my heroes.

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