Although I've been a runner of one kind or another basically all my adult life, I've been having trouble with my right knee for some time. I even blogged about it last summer. Luckily, my running partner has been patient with my complaints, and given that she's about eight months pregnant, she isn't particularly eager to run right now, anyway. We've been walking for exercise.
Last week, I was thinking about when I could hike Mt. LeConte with my daughter (she's eight). Whether my knee would make it actually crossed my mind. That spurred me into action; I mean, sheesh, I'm only 40. I shouldn't have to worry about going on a hike with my kid, right?
So I went to see an orthopedic group on Friday. You know, the one out there on Weisgarber in its own building, churning limping patients through its well-oiled machinery and billing the heck out of the health insurers. There's even an imaging facility on site. Although I had high hopes for a cute guy in scrubs--I even shaved my legs--alas, it was not to be. Furthermore, the physician assistant I saw had no good news for me. I have a common chronic ailment called chondromalacia of the patella.
This translates loosely to "knee cap rot."
Well, I could tell you to lose weight, he said, practically sighing in boredom, But that doesn't seem necessary for you. You could try gluocsamine, but I don't know, I don't think it really works. There's physical therapy, but you already seem pretty strong, so I'm not sure it would do much good.
Then he gave me a handout on chondromalacia of the patella, and waved his hand like it would be too tedious for him to explain further.
So what about running? I asked.
Bad for joint health and bad for your knee, he said. Then he brightened, But good for business.
Then Mr. Cheerless gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. Because there aren't enough Tennesseans on drugs already. And churned me right out the door.
I'm not devastated that I can't run, but I'm not happy about it. See, running has always been a source of power for me. I've forged friendships, I've conquered elements, I've scaled ridiculous hills, and after a hot run in June of 1987, I drank the best-tasting water a human could ever drink. So I am, to put it mildly, reluctant to let running go.
Today I got some better news from an athletic trainer. She's going to give me some physical therapy exercises in January and see if that won't help get my knee cap rot under control.
I have to say, I'm pretty much willing to try anything.