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Health

Knee pain

I’ve had on-and-off knee pain throughout my adult life. Historically it has only been one knee at a time, and it usually passes in a few days. During these times, moving and especially bending the knee is painful. I have difficulty getting into and out of a seated position or going up and down stairs.

Last night both of my knees started hurting while I was curled up on the couch watching TV. My legs also hurt at the place where the femur attaches to the pelvis. Getting up from the couch I found myself stiff and wracked with pain. I took some Tylenol and went to bed–painfully, pulling my legs up onto the mattress with my hands.

I slept for only a few hours before awakening with even worse pain. I tried to lie perfectly still and go back to sleep because I did not want to have to get up, which would require me to move my knees. Ultimately, though, I was in too much pain to sleep, so finally I forced myself out of bed by maneuvering my straight legs over the side and propping myself up into a standing position. Limping to the bathroom, I bent at the waist to search beneath the sink for unused medicine, and thankfully I came across a pain pill from when I had my weight loss surgery. I took one, then sat on the loveseat with my legs propped up and surfed on my phone until the pain subsided enough for me to go back to sleep.

When I woke up a scant few more hours later, the pain was back again, so I called my doctor’s office and made an appointment. My doctor, Dr. M, wasn’t supposed to be in today, but apparently they called him and he came in especially for me, which was really nice of him. We talked about the pain symptoms, then he had me lie back while he moved my legs around to see what hurt and what didn’t. The hip pain, he said, is probably bursitis; he doesn’t think it’s related to the knees, which makes sense because I’ve never had the two symptoms simultaneously that I can remember.

However, if the pain in my knees is rheumatoid arthritis, it may be related to the hip pain after all. At this point we don’t know what’s causing the knee pain. From the exam we know that it is the tendons on the top of the knee that are the problem; twisting my legs doesn’t hurt while bending them straight up and down is incredibly painful. And we know that Grandma had arthritis. So Dr. M drew some blood to check for general inflammation and for arthritis in particular. He also gave me a prescription for more pain medicine, for which I’ve been extremely thankful today. While the hip pain is relatively dull and seems to be fading away, the knee pain just won’t quit. Moving around seems to help, but without the pain medicine, moving around hurts a lot.

Here’s hoping the bloodwork reveals something that can help me long-term. And short-term, here’s hoping the pain takes a hike soon.