Kiran’s story: My knee was hampering my cricket

There is strong evidence that what a person thinks is wrong with their painful body part can affect their outcome. if a person thinks their body part (e..g back, knee) is badly damaged, they are less likely to engage in things that will help their pain and disability (like exercise, hobbies and work) and more likely to be affected by things that make their situation worse (e.g. anxiety, stress, poor sleep). Here Kiran tells his story of how what he thought was wrong with his knee was unhelpful, and how he only made real progress once he better understood the situation, and was less fearful of doing normal things (like running) with his knee.


I have been into sports and outdoor activities for as long as I can remember. Ever since I moved to the UK in 2009, my interest in sports took a more serious turn and I started playing cricket for clubs. I started off playing in Oxford and then in Essex before I moved over to the Midlands.

I am a medium fast bowler which meant there was a lot of pressure exerted on my left knee joint as it is my landing knee. I started to notice a dull ache in my knee after the games which I didn’t pay much attention to. As years passed be the pain became more and more severe to the extent where on one particular day I remember struggling to walk even a few steps. Being very anxious I resorted to the Internet looking for clues as to what this could be and could lead to. I was a bit shocked to find that all the results I got led me to believe that I have rheumatoid arthritis. I used to get rheumatic fever as a child and my joints used to ache which went away eventually. The readings suggested that as I used my joints excessively I may have developed arthritis. This made me extremely depressed. I used to drive a manual car, and I felt that every time I changed gear my knee used to hurt. I was conscious of the fact that I wasn’t doing any good to its already deteriorating condition. I actually believed that I would be bound to a wheelchair in a few years. I changed my car to an automatic and all this while I was seeking physiotherapy which did not make any difference.

I changed my diet drastically after reading some information. I wore a knee strap every time I did something physical. Bowling was affected as I did not fancy landing hard on my knee. I stopped putting any kind of load on my knee. Running and jogging had to stop as I read that it wasn’t good for the knees and every time I went for a run, I ran on grass and not on firm surfaces. All my shoes had insoles in them for more cushioning. I got more into knee strengthening exercises as I couldn’t stand for more than ten minutes in one place without my knees hurting.

Even though I did all this the thought of being physically impaired due to the damage that was already done to my knee was always at the back of my mind. I considered going abroad to have it looked at by a specialist and hoped that maybe a surgery would help get me back to normal. This is when I finally got an appointment to see a consultant at Leicester General Hospital.

I was examined by two doctors and after an extensive examination they came to the conclusion that no matter what I had, it was not arthritis. This was a great boost. After more checks they found out that my leg flexibility was very limited, and this was increasing the pressure being exerted on my knees. This was music to my ears as I could live with a stiff hamstring any day as long as my knees were safe.

I was referred to see a physiotherapist (Mr. Gurpreet Singh) who reinforced the same belief and after examining my knee told me that there was absolutely nothing wrong with them. In fact, on the flip side he told me they were very strong indeed. I was asked to do more stretching exercises and was told to lead a normal life.

I can run again as I am not scared anymore. I do all the exercises for my legs that I used to skip before being afraid. The very fact that I was made to realise that there is nothing wrong with my knee changed everything. Suddenly I can run faster and for longer than before. The anxiety is gone, I sleep peacefully at night. I have taken up Kick boxing and am very much looking forward to my first nets session for cricket this weekend.

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