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there might be a problem

I've not really been posting about it because, heck, boring, but there may be a bit of a problem with my knees. The symptoms (crepitus, locking and giving way, pain exacerbated by inactivity, walking on slopes or steps) are suggestive of something called various things but surely the most ironic is "runner's knee".

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.


( 18 worms — Feed the birds )
16th Nov, 2009 07:39 (UTC)
Get an MRI scan. Very pretty.
16th Nov, 2009 15:05 (UTC)
I've had my head MRIed but never a joint. We'll see how it goes.
16th Nov, 2009 09:07 (UTC)
Ow, heartfelt hurty knees sympathy.
I've just started using a little TENS type gadget that seems to help a little bit, but may be placebo effect.
You should whine more, of course. I always find that very soothing.
16th Nov, 2009 15:08 (UTC)
repeat after me : I must whine more
I'm always up for a little mild electroction. Wait, that came out wrong.

Probably not tens, alas (I've had it before for a neck injury) -- as from the feel of it the problem's mechanical not neural.
16th Nov, 2009 15:57 (UTC)
Re: repeat after me : I must whine more
This thing isn't really a TENS. It's called Pain Gone, and is a kind of acupressure doodah.I know...but I reckon anything's worth a go, especially if I believe it kinda works.

Edited at 2009-11-16 15:59 (UTC)
16th Nov, 2009 10:04 (UTC)
My right ankle and knee say hello... How hard it is to get a physician to check or recheck it there?
16th Nov, 2009 15:09 (UTC)
mumble. It varies from practice to practice. I'm currently between practices. My old surgery -- not problem. The new one -- anyone's guess.
16th Nov, 2009 10:47 (UTC)
If it had been housemaid's knee, would that be more or less ironic?
16th Nov, 2009 15:09 (UTC)
Bloody surprising more than anything else
16th Nov, 2009 11:29 (UTC)
My knees sometimes let me down when cycling; it sucks. I'd really try and see your GP, though - there may be Things They Can Do.
16th Nov, 2009 15:10 (UTC)
Better get one, I suppose. The last time I went to my practice they told me I had to change to another one.
16th Nov, 2009 11:41 (UTC)
Ouch. I don't think I'd quite realized how long-term this has been though of course I knew you'd had some knee problems before now, and you mentioned it at our ICA visit. At least you know how to handle it.

I'd quite like to see a strip about people subtly but determinedly objecting to exercise in the office. Or about other subtle but determined objections.
16th Nov, 2009 15:11 (UTC)
did I?
Hmmm, that suggests it's been going for a little longer than I thought. Bum.
16th Nov, 2009 17:56 (UTC)
Re: did I?
Think it was literally just starting up at the ICA visit - you felt it when getting up out of the chairs after the talk AFAIR.
16th Nov, 2009 12:49 (UTC)
I undersatnd. I have ongoing long term knee problems too. Due to a combination of long tendons and short muscles Therefore tendons will allow me to go over on my ankles etc but the muscles around the joint object and get very tired. Fortunately I have a wonderful osteopath who understands that i'm not going to stop or change the exercise I do unless I absolutely have to (i.e. not on a GP's whim.)

I have long thought that offices should have spaces where people can go and stretch properly. I find there isn't really space in most offices to do the stretches I really want to do when I've been working at a computer for hours.

At my work people seem to be able to negotiate things like working from home and all manner of other accomodations for various health problems. Could you negotiate the right to do some knee exercises on a similar basis as an 'official' accomodation to a health problem?

16th Nov, 2009 15:13 (UTC)
I expect so yes, but
mmmmhhh maybe I'm just too self conscious
17th Nov, 2009 20:15 (UTC)
Why do people gripe about you exercising in the office? Is it that it makes them feel bad for not exercising too, knee-jerk reaction? I'm boggled!

Yes, to doing a strip about it!
17th Nov, 2009 22:44 (UTC)
Do they do knees? Or have they got a special freebie if you get your back done?
( 18 worms — Feed the birds )