The Mighty Logo

When a Little Boy at the Salon Asked Why I Wear Knee Braces

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

I have hypermobility syndrome. In basic English, this means my joints are very mobile and not as secure as the average person’s, due to how the ligaments are stretched over and around them. I’m 21 and was diagnosed when I was 19. Recently, I’ve been forced to buy knee stabilizers.

I was in a beauty salon on black Friday during the evening hours. (I wasn’t going to fight a crowd to get the “best deals.”) I was waiting on the clerk to help me when a mother came in with her little boy. He was wearing a Spider-Man shirt and was likely no older than 6. I was wearing a short sleeve top, shorts and me knee stabilizers (I live in an area where it’s warm year-round). The little boy looked over at me and asked, “Why do you wear those knee things?” I smiled. I could have given him a boring medical explanation, where the words would fly over his head, but I did something special instead. 

I looked at him and said, “I’m a superhero. I wear these things on my knees to contain my powers. When I have to go fight crime, I take them off so I can use my superpowers.” The kid smiled wide. At this moment his mother was done with whatever she was doing in the store and pulled the child along.

Did I fib? Yes, but it’s something that made me feel better and entertained the child. A lot of people who have joint problems often have an “off” sense of humor because we’re faced with our chronic illnesses. I think I said what I did also because I feel like I am my own superhero.


A girl with joints who go out more than I do

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability and/or disease, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Originally published: December 1, 2015
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home