P90X with Knee Injuries (aka my Kryptonite)

Trying to make it through Round 1 of P90X with a knee injury, aka  bad knees, creaky knees, arthritis in the knees, twisted knees, runner’s knee, stiff knees?  Yeah, me, too.   

Knee Problems are a super heroine's kryptonite

Listen, does this sound familiar?  

More curious than I wanted to be, I lamely trailed him down two flights of stairs. Each step down burned a circle around my kneecap. Walking on even ground wasn’t so bad, but stairs—especially descending stairs—nearly took my breath away. My doctor had said it was the worst thing I could do for a knee injury. It certainly felt that way. I wondered if that’s why Simon insisted on the stairs when the palazzo had been modernized with elevators. Still, I didn’t let the pain show and fought against the need to limp….

We stood on a narrow plateau. The passageway led up more slender steps above us and looked the same below where it dipped deep into the earth.


Steps. Why did it have to be steps?


“How did you know about this passage?” I asked, following Myrddin carefully down the steps. My knee screamed with each downward motion. “And you’re sure Simon won’t find us here?”

“No. His father never trusted him. That’s part of the Adriano legacy. It’s because of what sons have done to their fathers for centuries. Later, when the son becomes the father, he fears history will repeat itself. It usually does.” The old man was at least twenty steps ahead of me. “You should get that knee seen about, you know.”

Damn. I was slowing him down? My knee hurt so badly that I was slowing down an eighty-something-year-old man? Time to head back to that obscure little beach town with the eye candy of a knee doctor and relax and work the kinks out of my knee for good! Right after I figured out how to keep Lilah safe. 


That’s one of my favorite passages out of Dark Revelations, a women’s action adventure/suspense novel that was published in 2006,  2 years after I wrote it while in physical therapy for knee injuries brought on by too much fencing and aggravated by a pair of designer shoes for work.   My editor told me my super-duper heroine needed to have a flaw, sort of like her kryptonite, that would make her mission to save her daughter a tremendous struggle.   

Struggle, you say?    

And thus was born my own little private joke.  What better way to hobble her efforts than to give her the same knee injury that was making it nearly impossible for me to climb the 20 steps into my office at my day job and made me feel utterly ineffective as a businesswoman, mother, and human being?  As luck would have it, my editor had knee surgery before she finished the final edit and thought my heroine’s “flaw” was extremely realisitic.   

In 2004, my doctor told me that for the rest of my life, to function normally, I will have to keep my legs twice as strong as normal.  That’s meant daily treadmilling or powerwalking and oodles of leg extensions.  If I lapse a few days, I can feel it in my knees.   

That made me nervous about trying P90X. If it’s that hard for an athlete with no injuries, how was I to stand a chance?  Well, I’ve stood a chance and improved my knees every week thus far by knowing my limits and modifying the exercises.  I went P90X Lean instead of P90X Classic because the full plyometric workout would have been a disaster for me to start with.  Going into the third month, I am now doing a little jumping in the other workouts that require it.  I don’t do deep squats or anything that puts too much pressure on my knees.  I’m careful about twisting with Kenpo, which is the DVD that troubles my knees the most in spite of how much I enjoy it.  I always make an effort with my legwork but instinctly know at this point when I’m crossing the line.    I push as far as I can and don’t mentally beat myself up for not being able to do more…but the next week, I’m able to do a little more, get a little deeper, balance a little better.  

The one place I can tell instantly if I’ve been pushing too hard is in any type of balance exercises, especially yoga.  If my knees are weakened or over-worked,  I find that I cannot balance as easily (normally not a problem).  I can definitely feel any weakness in my knees when I’m balancing, with little adjustments that muscles around my knee make.   

So P90X hasn’t turned me into a high-kicking super hero that Angelina Jolie should be playing in  my fantasized movie version of my book.  Not yet, anyway.  But at least now I can outrun an 80-year-old man!


3 responses to “P90X with Knee Injuries (aka my Kryptonite)

  1. This is great info! Thanks! I just found your wonderful blog through “tags in WordPress” I’m so glad I did… Best of luck with P90x! I actually just started day one today! ~ Take Care

  2. Pingback: My Favorite P90X Workout: Kenpo | The X in SeXy

  3. I realize this is a little late- but I just foud your blog.
    I did the lean version of P90X this past fall (actually ending at the new year) and I’m beginning a modified 2nd round. I too have knee issues. I had my ACL replaced in my left knee a couple of years ago, and I’m noticing most recently that my right knee is… well… old.
    I found out early on that Plyo was NOT a workout that I could do with my knee. I replace plyo with a run or cardioX, or core. Saves my knees.
    Hope you had success with the program.

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