Perfection Is Not An Option


Well damn it.

Now you tell me.

I wanted to throw in the towel a few times today, and it had a lot to do with wanting perfection.

The great thing?

I wasn’t even aware that I was seeking perfection, that is how ingrained in my being seeing said state is.

I never was nor will I ever be perfect.

I can end up waiting for the day to come and before you know it I will be dead.

But at least I will know why my knees hurt so damn much.

I have Patello-femoral Syndrome.

Yippee!

Gah.

Irritation of the knee cap (my poor Patellas–both the suckers have it, although my left is slightly more out of whack then my right) and the surrounding tissue due to increased compression.  There can be pain around or under the kneecap and sometimes in back of the knee.

Check.

Check.

And check.

Painful activities may include:

Running.

Ayup. Hurts like a bitch to run.

Walking when it is flared up.

Yup again, which is why I finally made the appointment to see my primary doctor, despite visions of knee surgery dancing fearfully though my head.  When the walking got too painful I knew the gig was up.  I am a professional nanny, it’s bad enough when my shoulder flares up from pushing the stroller, not walking is out of the question.

Please.

What else hurts?

Going up and down flights of stairs.

Oh yeah.

Horribly so.

I don’t talk about it, but it sucks, and ironically, which the physical therapist that I worked with today told me, it’s actually worse going down stairs.  And yes, the family I work for has a two story house and steps leading up to the front door as well.  I go up and down those steps more often than I can count.

I did a stair test and she showed me where my knees are pulled out of alignment.

Driving hurts, after a while, but yes it does, and the best, since I live in San Francisco, walking  up or down hills.

Bahahahahaha.

Oh good grief.

What contributes to PFS?

Tight hip or knee muscles; weak hip or knee muscles; flat feet (oh man, have you seen my feet?  Flat as pancakes, thanks dad. Plus my arches fell in my early twenties from all the food service work I was doing waiting tables, catering, bartending, hostessing, cocktail waitressing, expediting food (my best friend and I met at the Essen Haus and amongst many of my “fond” memories of the establishment was her strapping an ice pack to my knee to get me through the night’s shift, with, yes duct tape); and lastly, repetitive or excessive amounts of activity.

Can anyone say bicycling in San Francisco (and Paris and Oakland) for the last 9 years, 5-6 time a week, an average of 12-15 miles per day.

And that’s not including the year I trained and rode the AidsLifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to LA.

I started the training for that November of 2009 and trained every weekend up until the week before the ride in June 2010.

So.

Um.

Yeah.

A LOT of repetitive activity.

And it’s not what you would think, or I would think, it’s not the movement of the knees that the problem.

It’s the sitting in the saddle, the excessive sitting is tightening my hips which have pulled my knees completely out of alignment.

It turns out that not only are my hips extremely tight, they are also excessively weak.

Great.

They’re wide too.

My sister used to joke that our family hips were meant to birth a 10 lb baby without breaking a sweat.

When the physical therapist asked to test my knee strength I was afraid what the pain was going to be like, and was a bit surprised that there wasn’t really pain.

My knees are strong–thank you bicycling.

But my hips, oh, man.

As soon as she started manipulating my hips, my knees started to hurt.

I was shocked.

But I could feel the IT Band (Iliotibial band, which is a tough group of fibers that run along the outside of the thigh, the top part is attached to the glutes and the bottom to  the shin bone just below, yes, you guessed it, the knee) pulling my tight as she moved my hips and tested them for flexibility and strength.

“Your hips are so tight, your knees are going to hurt just from this,” she adjusted me on my back and then showed me a stretch and then had me roll over on my other side.

“Both hips are extraordinarily tight and weak, resist the pressure as I push down,” she said.

It was like a soft pat but I couldn’t hold my leg up as soon as she pushed down on a hip.

I was again shocked.

And also relieved.

There is something that I can do about it, I don’t have to have surgery and I don’t have to stop riding my bicycle.

“You may at some point down the line have to have surgery, but certainly not at this time, there’s a lot of strengthening and stretching to do before that even becomes an issue,” she reassured me as I relayed my mom’s double hip and double knee replacement surgeries.

I also spoke with my mom recently and found out that there is high cholesterol on her side of the family, both she and my grandmother and probably others in the family.

Great.

Well, at least I know it’s not from my diet, which is really quite impeccable, if I do say so myself, though not perfect, since I’m still taking iron supplements like they’re going out-of-town.

I’m wondering what else can fall apart on my body.

Please, hold on a little longer.

I want to have sex again.

I bet that will stretch my hips.

Ha.

The physical therapist gave me sheets of exercises and stretches to be done, not once, not twice, but three times a day, plus icing my knees (where are those frozen peas?) two to three times a day as well.

“When your charges nap, stretch, do the clam shell one especially,” she directed me.

Sure.

Let me just lie down on the floor and do the clam while the mom and dad walk around me on their way to their home office.

I negotiated doing them after work when I got home on my bike, which is not a negotiation, my knees hurt like whiny little bitches by the time the day was done and I knew I had to stretch and strength train.

Good thing no body was around to see me floundering and trying to not cry in frustration doing said clam strengthening exercise–two sets of ten twice a day; the bridge, 2 sets of ten, twice a day; top leg lifts, 2 sets of 10 reps, twice a day; standing squats, two sets of ten twice a day; and then a bunch of hip flexor stretches.

Ugh.

But I did them.

And though I am sore, it’s a good kind of sore and I am grateful to have a solution that is not surgery.

Despite not wanting to do the work, which is always the case, I get to do it anyway.

And if I follow her suggestions,which I am good at doing, following suggestions, I should have no knee pain in a bout a month.

Considering it’s been years now, I’m cool with that.

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