Monday, July 2, 2012

When Good Knees Go Bad

As luck would have it, at a time when it seems that Humira is controlling my arthritis pretty well, I go and injure my left knee in kickboxing.

About a month ago, I remember my knee hurting more than usual after kickboxing.  While I have never really had significant arthritis problems in my knees, I told myself to wait and see if things improved after my Humira injection.

Things didn’t improve, but since I am so used to being in pain, I walked around with my knee slightly swollen, killing me walking up and down the stairs and while bending down.

I quickly realized that the pain I was having was very different from arthritis pain.  And that the pain was from an acute injury. 

I talked to my kickboxing instructor, and he suggested that I give things another week, but that if they didn’t improve, I should go to the doctor.

So that’s what I did.  And now I am going to physical therapy.  They think that there is a combination of things going on, but definitely an acute injury occurred.  The most likely cause is a misaligned kneecap, which has caused inflammation of the joint. 

In some ways, I guess there’s something to be said for being “athletic” enough to actually injure oneself by exercising.

On the other hand, there is a lot of frustration on my part that the situation is happening at all. 

So where does chronic illness fit in with this?  Well, it’s front and center, as you might imagine.

According to my physical therapist, the injury is being exacerbated by some bad habits I’ve picked up walking with arthritis. 

I think we unknowingly make a lot of accommodations in an attempt to reduce pain and increase mobility, but these changes can cause other problems, sometimes to previously unaffected areas.    

I am hoping that my knee gets back into shape, and that I will be able to continue kickboxing. 

For now, the prescription is icing my knee three times a day, wearing some support tape, and going to physical therapy once a week.

I suppose that things could be far worse than this, but it feels a bit like adding insult to injury, when you have an acute problem on top of being chronically ill. 

Like wasn’t one thing enough?

And I’m pretty sure that given my health issues, it will probably take longer for this to heal than it would for some people who don’t take as long to bounce back from things. 

As Independence Day approaches, it makes me think about personal independence and what we lose from illness.  I’m lucky in that I can do almost all things myself that I should be able to do.  However, given this injury, it’s not hard to see the slide that can occur. 

It’s also a hard lesson to learn that I should listen to my body, rather than attributing everything to the same old, same old.  Hopefully I didn’t cause myself further injury by ignoring it for several weeks. 

Hopefully this knee issue is a minor setback.

Lesson learned. 

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