My daughter has accepted the challenge to save her knees and in her usual single-minded and optimistic way has begun exercising her legs on her own. She found the red elastic strap we used when she was strengthening her legs after her surgery and started working out. I went into her bedroom two weeks ago and found her on the floor with the strap wrapped around her leg. She was trying to pull it herself to create resistance, but instead she kept pulling herself off balance and falling over.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Getting strong," she replied as she adjusted the strap around her ankle.
"Can I help?"
"Yes." She unwrapped the strap and handed it up to me. "I have to make my knees stronger so I can walk better."
"Let's do it, then."
She grinned and lay on her tummy. I put her foot through the strap and held the back of her knee securely to keep it from flopping sideways. "Ready?"
"Ready," she said, then pulled her foot toward her while I held the other end of the strap, keeping it tense. She did twenty repetitions on each leg, then she sat on the edge of her bed and we did the same thing, only this time she lifted her foot upwards. I could feel her muscles and tendons working under my hands as she held her foot out, the tension creating a strain and forcing them to engage. She grinned.
This is why I can't just put braces on her legs. Yes, we may be taking a risk that no amount of exercise will improve things and her knees will deteriorate to the point where they won't be able to support her body weight. But this is obviously a risk my daughter is willing to take. I support her strength and determination. She isn't giving up, so why should I.
Every afternoon she finds the red strap and calls to me. "Time to do my exercises."