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How to Cope with Knee Pain., and Be Sure of The Cause

Updated on August 4, 2017

Understanding knee pain

As A child in the 1950's, I had a wonderful Aunt who seemed ancient to me.Not because she'd been born in 1901 and lived through 2 World Wars, bu because she always knew everything that mattered. . For example, My brother would develop a cough and she would concoct some ghastly-looking black liquid, that he drank with no fuss and soon the cough would be gone.

When I had a cough something completely different came out of her pantry...not black...tasting horrible,.......and I actually DID make a fuss to avoid swallowing the dreaded potion., but again the cough was soon cured.

Of course it turned out Aunty just knew the difference between a chesty cough and a dry cough. She knew how to mix the correct ingredients from her kitchen to suit each cough.

Aunty Kate always knew the best thing for earache or sore feet. and just about anything else in between.

Obviously she had a love of herbs and any natural remedies that she could find.

I don't remember many visits to pharmacists, or doctors. This , of course makes the poor woman sound like someone who would have been burned at the stake in another century. To us she was just 'Aunty Kate' who knew everything.

Sadly the one thing she could never quite cure was her own ailment, that she described as 'housemaids' knee'

When she was young during the 1920's she had worked as a housemaid for an extremely wealthy family, while her best friend managed to find employment at Buckingham Palace. (home of the King of England at the time). Same job. Hard work in those days.

Coal fires to be laid perfectly, with criss-crossing of pieces of wood, then lumps of coal strategically placed on top.

A glowing, real, coal fire is a beautiful thing not only for heat but also for daydreaming. I can remember looking at flames and seeing allsorts of images in the colours of yellow, red and blue, with white and grey smoke here and there. I could lose myself into another world by staring into a real coal fire..

A beautiful thing, yes, in the evening., not so beautiful at 5.30. in the morning when my Aunty Kate would rise to clear away the old fire and light a new one before everyone else in the house got out of bed.

She spent many hours over quite a few years on her knees, sweeping up the ashes, separating pieces of 'coke' that could be put back onto the fire and slag or shale that had to be thrown out.(because it's like stone and shouldn't have been in withe coal in the 1st place)

Once the fireplace had been cleaned and fresh newspapers, pieces of wood, cokes and then fresh coal had been placed in order, Aunty would light a match and finally stand up in front of the fire holding something she called a 'blower' till the fire was roaring . One more sweep of the fireplace (on her knees again) a damp cloth to wipe all around and there she had it.! A beautiful, clean fireplace, a warm fire glowing in the hearth, ready for her mistress to come down to breakfast.

Later in the day her other chores often meant she was on her knees again cleaning under beds etc.,

Aunty Kate was still doing this , long, long after she'd worked as a housemaid. Being a housewife and mother I'd see her retrieving toys from under my cousins' bed , polishing linolium floors.. No wonder she had knee pain that she called housemaids' knee.

Personally, I don't think her being such a devout Catholic can have helped much (no offence meant to catholics) but if she wasn't kneeling at the side of her bed praying, she'd be in church where there was a lot of 'stand up, kneel down, keep moving' sort of activity. I found it a bit like the game Simon says..... Simon says 'STAND UP' ..........Simon says 'SIT DOWN' but a great deal of the time Simom seemed to say kneel,...................When I was about 8 yrs old I truly believed Aunty was a saint.

In time, of course, she had to see a doctor, her left knee in particular being constantly swollen and both knees giving her daily pain. His first results told her that at least it wasn't bone cancer. YIKES ! Who even knew he was thinking down that road..!

It seems she was suffering from a serious deformation of the knee joint from severe arthritis. This explained why she sometimes said that she felt her knee was turning outwards away from her body, ,but to look at it the knee was perfectly normal apart from the swelling.

Painkillers and ice cold damp cloths on the suffering knee were recommended. "Keep the iced cloth on your knee for as long as you can stand it the doctor had said, "while you are resting' "Huh !" Resting.! Does Aunty Kate know what that IS !? Resting is for other people...........Oh no. We managed to force her to rest ..and take her pills from the doctor, despite the fact she would still try to make something up from her grand collection of herbs and spices in her pantry.

Housemaids' knee was a pretty good description in Aunty's case but arthritis it was for sure.

Today we have hundreds of different anti-inflammatory drugs to ease the pain of arthritis in knees. It's just a case of finding the ones that suit you best. Also of course doctors today know much more about how you should take care of it. . Kneeling for half your life like my Aunty is obviously not recommended, if you can possibly avoid it.

Lots and lots of herbal medicines for this too. It's worth talking to your nearest herbalist to find out what is best for you. The important thing is to be sure what the pain is.....before you start taking medicines for what you THINK it is.

If my dad's sister Aunty Kate were alive today she'd be 109 yrs old.(she was 18 years older than my dad , really I am not THAT old)

Bless her!!!! Can't get that song out of my head now......Stand up, sit down keep moving. Stand up, kneel down keep moving... and we'll all be merry and bright.........

As  a child it´s normally easy to bend
As a child it´s normally easy to bend


Submit a Comment

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

    Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

    She sure was, bless her. My dear old Aunty Kate,

    Thanks for stopping by. Always encouraging to have a comment. Take care.

  • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

    Susan Haze 7 years ago from Sunny Florida

    Dim, a nice story and a wonderful memory of someone we call quite a woman.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

    Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

    thank you. l´m so glad you enjoyed the read. Aunty Kate was ´´one of a kind´´ for sure.

  • vocalcoach profile image

    Audrey Hunt 7 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

    A wonder of a woman! I loved reading about your Aunty.

    A great big "thanks" to you, Dim and to your "one-of-a-kind" Aunt. Peace and love.

  • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

    Dim Flaxenwick 8 years ago from Great Britain

    You're right .. She was such a character too, you know.

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 8 years ago

    Very nice story. She was spiritual and a laborer. You can't get much better than that. She also tried to be a healer to put icing on her cake.

    Being on one's knees tends to push the patella up. I'd bet this added to her suffering. You can take straighten the fingers and chop downward on the patella with the ends of the fingers to push the knee cap back downward aligning it more properly. I'm sure she had severe arthritis as well.

    A man doesn't stand as tall as when he's on his knees.

    However, I feel work and sacrifice are forms of prayer. I guess most would say you can't pray enough. I'm sure her prayers were not in vain. She spent most of her life, it seems, in reverence of God. I believe God has said since, "Kate, sit. Someone else can get that!" Thanks for a great hub.