The Evil Fat-shaming Knee Doctor

One of Ragen’s favourite stories is about the difference she supposedly experienced being treated for the same knee injury as both a thin person and a morbidly obese person. The first time it ever came up was in her 2010 ebook, Dealing at the Doctor’s Office, in which she refers to multiple specific “awful experiences” at her doctor’s office. Strangely, the knee story is not among them, but the ebook does contain a hypothetical and typically awkward example interaction with a doctor.

Dr: Well, that knee pain is probably due to extra weight.

You: Thank you for sharing that possibility. All the same, I’d like you to run the tests as though I’m a thin person complaining of the same problem. If there are no other issues then we can consider the possibility that it may be the combination of my weight and muscle strength.

The first time Ragen actually talks about the fat-shaming knee doctor as a real story is back in 2012. She claims as a thin person, she was immediately given numerous treatment options that resolved the issue; as a fat person, the doctor simply walked out of the room without speaking the moment she mentioned her knee, then a nurse came in and handed her a “forbidden foods” list 10 minutes later.

When I had the exact same issue but was fat, the doctor asked why I was there and I said knee pain. He didn’t palpate my knee or ask any questions. He turned around and left the room without saying a word. Ten minutes later a nurse came in with a piece of paper with a list that said “forbidden foods” (had they bothered to ask they would have known that I had recovered from an eating disorder, making this dangerous for me) and an exercise plan for taking 10 minute walks (at the time I was dancing and working out over 20 hours a week.)

Early in 2015, Ragen wrote a very different version of the story. She now says she had a long discussion with the doctor about the correct treatment, was then refused any treatment other than weight loss, at which point she walked out and visited a massage therapist of her own volition.

When I had knee pain a few years ago the only explanation offered to me by doctors was that I needed to lose weight.  Because I had the luxury of knowing how they treat these issues with smaller people, I asked the doctor if people who weren’t fat had knee problems.  After some pushing he admitted that they do.  So I said that I wanted to be treated like they treat thin people.  I was told that there was no point in treating any other issues until I lost weight.  What with the who now?  So I left the doctor’s office and did some research.  I started working with a massage therapist and when we cleared up the tightness in my quads and IT bands the knee pain disappeared.  Losing weight would have done NOTHING to help the actual issue.

In a recent post on the official HAES blog, Ragen again tells the story, and again completely rewrites the details of her interaction with the doctor. Now, rather than getting up and leaving, or only prescribing weight loss, he is also incredibly condescending and rude, telling her she’s “obviously too lazy” to participate in physical therapy. He eventually relents and agrees to prescribe physical therapy, contradicting the previous version.

When I was in college I had knee pain.  I was at the lowest weight of my adult life thanks to an as-yet undiagnosed eating disorder.  I went to the doctor and he gave me over a dozen options – had I considered massage or rolling it out on a rolling pin or baseball bat (these were the pre-foam roller and tiger stick days)?  He offered to prescribe physical therapy, saying that they could use ultrasound, ice, muscle manipulation and specific exercises to rehab the knee.  If all else failed we could look at surgery he said.

Fast forward to a few years ago: after years of weight cycling my weight had finally stabilized thanks to my shift from a focus on body size and dieting to a focus on healthy behaviors.  I had the same knee pain that I’d had before, and this time I was one hundred pounds heavier than I had been during my ED days.  I headed to the doctor to get a prescription for physical therapy.  He told me the only thing that could possibly be done about my knee was weight loss.  I explained that I had this same pain at a much lower weight and that I would like to treat it the same way.  He said that there was “no point” in prescribing me physical therapy since I was “obviously too lazy” to do the exercises they would prescribe.  After finally talking him into prescribing the PT, he said that it “better work” since nobody would consider doing surgery on someone my size.

There are now three different versions of the same story, plus one hypothetical version.

When did this story actually take place? “A few years ago” as of 2015 places it around the time Ragen first told it on her blog in 2012. At that point it was clearly something that happened in the past, when she was “dancing and working out over 20 hours a week”. She also claims it happened after she stopped dieting and started to focus on “healthy behaviours”. We know Ragen was happily yo-yo dieting and blaming her magic metabolism for her weight until at least 2007, which leaves a window from 2007-2010.

In the 2009 post A Tale of Two Cholesterol Tests, Ragen specifically claims she hasn’t seen a doctor for anything other than routine physicals since at least 2004, which further narrows down the possible timing to a short window between March 5, 2009 and June 2, 2010. During that time, Ragen was furiously blogging about anything and everything related to body weight. This is when she wrote the famous So My Doctor Tried to Kill Me post, and she even admits to visiting gyms on free days to trick trainers into “fat shaming” her to obtain extra blog material. Are we meant to believe any of the versions of this story actually happened and Ragen didn’t think it was worthy blog material until a passing mention several years later?

Assuming Ragen’s memory was a little hazy (trained researchers have no time for important details like the basic facts), her Livejournals go back as far as 2002-2003. There is no mention of a new knee injury; in fact, Ragen had a significant ankle injury during her final “national championship” dance in late 2005. There are a number of extremely detailed posts about her recovery and physical therapy, but nothing about her knee. The following year she even complained about the doctor who treated her ankle and wanted to refer her for surgery (of course, this is during the period she later claimed she was only seeing doctors for routine physical exams).

The ankle that I injured so badly at Nationals is finally healed. Had I believed the doctor when he said “The only thing that will fix this is surgery” I would just be able to start walking now, as opposed to the painfree existence that I’ve been leading and the full-time dancing I’ve been doing now since April. Yay “alternative” healing arts.

June 15th, 2006

In January 2006, Ragen wrote the bombshell claim that she “shattered” her kneecap at some point during high school. In 2003, she also implied she has a prosthetic knee implant. This is a very serious injury even without the implant, involving months of recovery time and the potential for lifelong complications like arthritis in the joint. We are supposed to believe a doctor saw a patella fracture on the chart of a patient complaining of knee pain, and simply walked out of the room or refused any kind of treatment other than weight loss? And furthermore, that Ragen doesn’t consider this detail important to the story even though it would greatly strengthen her claim about the doctor’s incompetence? It’s also worth noting Ragen claims she was an “all-state athlete” and was exercising for 8-10 hours every day for several years after this injury. And the fact that she hasn’t mentioned it a single time 2006.

During yet another short-lived bid to enter a 10K in 2004, Ragen wrote that her “knees and ankles hate to run as much as I do and I’ve had IT Band Syndrome going on 14 years”. That puts her IT band syndrome diagnosis around age 15, and certainly suggests she may have seen a doctor and been prescribed physical therapy at a younger age. In 2003, she was wearing a knee brace and seeing a physical therapist for a long period without a mention of any specific knee injury. Unfortunately that’s as far back as we can go because Ragen removed most of her 2002 posts to hide the details of her involvement in selling MLM weight loss products. Perhaps the famous fat-shaming doctor story happened before 2003? That’s pretty close to “a few years ago”, right?

Is this another story Ragen simply made up? While we cannot conclusively prove anything, Ragen’s past history of fraud, the shifting and improbable timeline and major inconstancies in each successive retelling, and the fact that she originally presented it as a hypothetical example all suggest it’s most likely a work of fiction. All the more so since Ragen, a notorious blabbermouth who frequently shared even the most intimate details of her private sex life and medical treatment, never mentioned the story before 2012. We know about her medical history down to when she consulted an “energy healer” and had multiple reiki crystal treatments on her ankle, but the details of this mysterious knee injury are totally elusive.


Ragen is very bad at lying. When all the different versions of her stories are put together in context, they are clearly not written by someone relating a real event from memory. While Ragen is well known for manipulating the truth without technically lying by making vague implications or misrepresenting meaningless achievements, it’s becoming increasingly obvious she will tell outright lies whenever she thinks she can get away with it. A case in point is the 5000 Little Lies incident, or her recent fake training selfies. Once again Ragen has proven to be a narcissistic and pathological liar who cannot keep her facts straight. How long can she really maintain this charade in the public eye?

8 thoughts on “The Evil Fat-shaming Knee Doctor

  1. I have an ankle joint that is abnormal. This comes from having a bone tumor operated on while I was in highschool. That bone operation has caused a number of issues with pain throughout the years. One time I went to a doctor about the pain and he instantly lectured me on my weight. Without checking my charts or looking at the surgical scar or pulling the countless x-rays that have been done. His nurse came in and I pointed out to her.

    She looked mortified. And rightly so. That surgery was incredibly invasive and took nine months to recover from. I never will walk completely right and while weight does impact my joints that was -not- the problem.

    I left that doctor and never went back. Not because he “fat shamed” me but because he DIDN’T DO HIS JOB. Full stop.

    I wasn’t going to leave the fate of my health in the hands of some guy who couldn’t be bothered to read a chart. This has happened ONE time and I’ve been heavy for years. ONCE.

    All this is to say that even if that story happened (which it probably didn’t), all she had to do was walk away. It’s not about fat shaming. It’s not about conferences and books and eighty gazillion different versions of a story. It’s about a doctor that didn’t do his job. You know, that happens to thin people too!!

    But no. Instead it turns into some oddly unspecific randomly morphing story about OMG EVIL FAT SHAMING DOCTORS. Which leads me to think that as you said, it likely never happened at all.

  2. You could add that the “so my doctor tried to kill me” post has tantalizing similarities to one of the knee stories, such as being handed a sheet with a diet and exercise plan, said exercise plan including 10-minute walks when she works out 20 hours a week… It sounds like yet another version of the same story except it’s not about her knee at all.

  3. I’m going to start demanding that the doctor treat me as if I were a 90 year old, obese black man with diabetes and cancer. The fact that I’m a 40 year old, thin white woman with neither diabetes nor cancer is irrelevant, according to Regan.

  4. That blog screenshot of her coming out as bi after identifying as lesbian. I hadn’t seen that before today, and it was a good read. It seemed genuine, like there’s an actual human being somewhere in there. That makes me even more sad.

  5. Chastain has so many red flags littered through her publicly available writings – I hope that her partner knows that she can leave at any time, even if she is largely bed- or scooter-bound, and even though Chastain has alienated her partner’s family. There are no pictures of injuries or recordings of emotional abuse that I know of, but the lies and drama Chastain churns out paint her as the kind of creep that wouldn’t refrain from making her partner feel as if she is “less worthy.”

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