Last month I mentioned my knackered knees were causing me to worry about the pain I might experience on the road. If I think about the last 4 months, I do believe I've experienced some improvement, however an extra 10-12 minute walk in my day will still leave me hurting for several days after (which obviously shouldn't be the case!). A good friend, who listened to my complaints, suggested I see an orthopedist (vs a podiatrist). I picked one near work, and finally got in to see him on my birthday.
The first thing I noticed in the waiting room of the orthopedic clinic was how I was about 20-30 years younger than the other patients. The surgeons at this particular clinic specialize in joint (knee/hip) replacement, and apparently business is booming. A radiologist x-rayed both of my knees, and I patiently awaited the doctor. Before he came into my room, I could hear him in the hall dictating his last patient's visit, noting he/she had opted for double knee replacement surgery.
The doctor introduced himself, and I gave him a brief rundown of my problem/history, and my upcoming plan to backpack around the world. The first thing he pointed out in my x-rays were the shape of my kneecaps. Apparently a normal kneecap is one round piece of bone. My right kneecap had two pieces of bone, and my left three! Given this surprising news, I asked what percentage of the population have knees such as mine. His response was less than 1%. Lucky me!
He felt around my knees, where those little extra pieces of bone were, and as the pain wasn't in those areas, he deemed it unrelated to my freak-of-nature kneecaps. He said this was good news because the treatment would've been to surgically remove the smaller pieces of bone. He then suggested that the pain is consistent with soft tissue problems in the inner knee, and that treatment would be non-surgical in nature (thank god for such a response from a surgeon). He wrote me a prescription for a month's worth of physical therapy, as I had hoped.
Before his assistant brought me the prescription, I could hear the doctor in the hall dictating again, and this time about me. My favorite part was when he mentioned the fact that I intend to go backpacking around the world!
Unfortunately, I'm planning to give my notice at work within the next 1-2 weeks, which is not going to be enough time to see results from the physical therapy. I don't feel like it's enough of a problem to turn back now though, so I'm going to do the physical therapy, follow all their suggestions, and try to get back to normal in the time I have left.