Image from: Professor Adrian Wilson, Knee and Sports Injury Specialists

I haven’t been able to hike much this year. Back in January I did something to my knee. I was getting on a bicycle to go for a ride with my wife when I felt something pop. It stopped hurting very quickly and I ignored it. A few days later I went on a hike and most of the way to the top of the hill my knee started hurting. It has been like that ever since.

Some days I feel sort of okay but other days I’m limping around the house. It brings back memories of decades ago when my meniscus tore and I couldn’t hike at all. Even after arthroscopic surgery, it was months before I could walk with reduced pain. Not pain-free. I haven’t walked pain free for 30 years.

I have an appointment with the doctor but I’m afraid that it is something that will not heal and cortisone shots won’t fix it. Pretty sure from the location of the pain it is my ACL – anterior crucial ligament. I wear a neoprene brace on it to compress and to provide support. Surgery involves removing a piece of ligament from another part of the body and using it to replace the torn ligament.

This is a type of injury a total knee replacement wouldn’t fix.

As if that isn’t enough, my heels are giving me crap. Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the band of tissue that connects the heel to the ball of the foot. I’m not sure what the cause is. Probably a combination of getting old and having Walmart discount rack collagen genes. At least this is something I can deal with using a combination of stretching, and shoes with a lot of heel padding.

Although I can do a few miles on gentle terrain, the question that haunts me is if I should or if I’m accelerating the damage. At any rate, I’ve lost the ability to hike deep into the back country and mountains where it is wild and free and that hurts. Some days it is hours before I can even walk normally. It was a very important part of maintaining my mental health, something I can see has deteriorated a bit over the last year.

With age comes a reduction of the ability to adapt to loss. I am also becoming fragile, physically and psychologically. Triumphing over adversity is no longer in my vocabulary. I will just have to muddle through somehow. That’s what old people have to do.