So, I have awful knees. Like, really awful knees.
"Awful knees" translates into: tilted patellas with a long history of repeated subluxation on both legs. That is, I've had both kneecaps pop out of socket on multiple occasions throughout my life for relatively minor (stupid) reasons (i.e. turning around funny to answer my mother; playing fetch with my dog; and--I'm not kidding--getting out of the shower).
I've also injured myself during events that actually make sense (i.e. racing someone in back-walk-overs; slipping on tree roots while hiking; and running, leaping, and landing wrong).
So, this last time I popped my left knee out of socket (July 2011), I was out of commission for a good long while because I could barely walk. However, I've been following some pretty intense physical therapy, and I've made a lot of progress. I went from being unable to hobble up steps without crutches to being able to walk my dog for one mile around my neighborhood three times a week over a period of two months.
Yet, my knee still swells and hurts when I stand for too long (i.e. more than an 8 hour shift at work). Also both my knees start to feel weak (like they might pop out again) when I walk more than a mile or do too many squats (i.e. more than 3 sets of 30). I also have trouble lifting things that are too heavy and climbing too many stairs.
I'm a former gymnast, so this is all very frustrating. I love to jump and dance. But, my knees make it close to impossible for me to engage in vigorous physical activity without considerable pain or anxiety/stress. I've been coping with occasional long walks (while wearing my big-honkin' knee brace), seated weight lifting, hula hooping, an exercise bike, and tug-of-war with my border collie.
My question is this:
Does anybody else out there with tilted patellas/bad knees have any suggestions for low impact sports-related activities? Play? Exercise?