Archive for knees

The Arthritic Cosmological Principle

Posted in Biographical with tags , on April 7, 2019 by telescoper

When I attended a meeting recently quite a few people expressed concern about my health given that I turned up with a walking-stick. I’ve actually been using one on occasions for quite a few months now, and it may well become a regular accessory, so to avoid anyone else I meet wondering what’s going on I thought I’d post a brief explanation.

Over the past six months or so I’ve had an increasing problem with swelling and stiffness in my knees. This is worst in the morning when I’ve just got out of bed, in which situation my knees are invariably bright red.

You can see what I mean in the picture here (viewer discretion advised). The stiffness sometimes makes me a bit wobbly on my pins and makes it a bit tricky dealing with stairs. I use the stick more for balance than anything else, and once I get going I can walk quite comfortably. I spent most of a day walking around Copenhagen without ill effects when I visited there in February.

I’ve been to the doctor several times about this and, although I’m still waiting for various test results, it’s clear that I have some form of arthritis. For the time being I’m just taking an anti-inflammatory drug which is quite effective at reducing the swelling. In due course I may be put on other medication, possibly involving a course of injections, and maybe even surgery. I’ll just have to wait and see about that.

The important thing is that, although I’m not exactly thrilled to have arthritis, I’m not in any real pain. It’s just a bit uncomfortable, that’s all, though that does make it hard to concentrate sometimes and it has impacted on my capacity to work long hours. I am sorry that I have missed some deadlines as a result.

You may or may not know that I used to run a lot when I was younger, including a few marathons and half-marathons. This has caused me some problems with my knees before, and I had minor surgery (arthroscopy) about 15 years ago to help with this. That procedure went pretty well, but I was warned that I was a relatively high risk for arthritis. It looks like the doctor wasn’t wrong! My running days are well and truly over, that’s for sure.

One other thing worth mentioning is that this condition does seem to be highly temperature-dependent. This last week the weather suddenly turned a lot colder and the arthritis definitely got worse. Perhaps in future I could learn to use the colour of my knees as some kind of forecasting method?