I don't run. Well, sometimes upstairs, or for the bus, or if I'm late. But I don't run. You know, because I have to be careful of my knees.
The initial buggeration of my knees is lost in the mists of time. Possibly it was school; I remember a hockey injury, several sharp impacts (including one very memorable hockey stick), a lifted ball smacking hard into my kneecap, and that time I fell over and caught the side of a kneecap on a rock doing one of those character-building things. Caving, climbing a tor, you know. Possibly it was home: I used to run over uneven land all the time at home, especially in dusk when I couldn't see where I was going. I fell exactly once, but that was onto the teeth of a rain-washed hardcore. Then there was the time I came off my bike on an unmetalled road. The quantities of blood from that one still make me queasy, even at 21 year's remove.
But none of these seemed to slow me down for more than a few weeks, a month at the outside. Which was why it was doubly surprising when in my second or third year at university I started getting a problem with my knee joints. Pain would build up to a crescendo when I sat for long periods of time, only to be relieved by cracking the joint repeatedly. Thus began what was a two-year regime, on and off: gentle exercise, 400mg of ibuprofen a day, avoid sitting still for long periods of time.
In the end, though, it's what people want to pay me for; sitting still for long periods of time. It's what modern transport demands. Tragically, my childhood of regular violent exercise and heavy physical work has left me both sadly unsuited to sitting still for long periods, and a patchwork of old injuries.
There were more knee injuries after that, including the very special one which taught me all about rotational movement over worn joints. That's what I'm trying to avoid at the moment, but it's hard. You turn corners, and you're used to your knees making the turn. I'm mincing around like an idiot at the moment, trying to avoid dangerous movement whilst retaining as natural a gait as possible. Trying to rest the joints, yet keep everything moving. Taking enough ibuprofen to help with inflammation without damping those all important pain indicators. Oh, and I should go to the doctor's, really, I suppose. I tried phoning my surgery and NHS Direct but apparently they're extremely busy dealing with people panicking about swine flu at the moment. Soz.
I know the drill, anyway. Rest, elevation, ibuprofen, check your ergo, avoid sudden shocks, keep the joints moving, especially take regular breaks for exercise whenever you're sitting down for long periods. That last one's a killer, actually. Even though people understand intellectually about physio and so on their first impulse when they see someone exercising in the office is to subtly, but determinedly object. I should do a strip about that, actually. It's odd behaviour and I should probably try to understand why it happens.
Anyway, in the end, I always end up sat in a toilet cubicle, doing leg lifts. It's grim.