The meniscus is a half moon shaped piece of cartilage that lies between the weight bearing joint surfaces of the femur and the tibia. It is triangular in cross section and is attached to the lining of the knee joint along its periphery. There are two menisci in a normal knee; the outside one is called the lateral meniscus, the inner one the medial meniscus.
I remain hobbled - of course - but today I may have pushed the bounds of my hobbledness. Today, I dropped off M at her “camp” only to discover that they were watering the new sod by the sidewalk leading from the street up to the building. Rather than walking around the sprinklers, M and I decided to make a dash up the sidewalk at that precise moment the sprinklers were spraying away from the sidewalk. We timed it just right, and had to run very fast, but we arrived on the other side safe and dry.
On the way out I decided to challenge the sprinklers again. This time I also avoided the water, remaining dry. What I didn’t take into account was that the sidewalk goes down two steps to street level, and then the property drops another level over the curb down to the street.
I watched the sprinklers for a cycle or two, and took off running when the time seemed right. While charging down the sidewalk, my mind went into that slow motion analytical mode that makes these memories so much fun. I quickly realized that I would have to do “something” about the two steps and curb. There was no way I could hit each wet step and the curb without slowing down considerably. Running up with Maria wasn’t a problem, but going down, the possibility of slipping and falling seemed much greater. In an instance I deduced the best way to do it was to attempt a “triple jump” style movement that involved getting a flying start, hitting one foot on the sidewalk, then leaping all the way to the street. It was going great until I hit mid-air and I wondered how my knee was going to handle the landing. I knew that I would land on my right leg (the bad knee), so I had a moment of panic. The solution: yell “Ah, Ha” loudly, and try to hit the ground running so as to soften the blow. It worked; I flew the air, shouted “Ah, Ha” loudly, landed on my right leg, and kept right on running. Thank God no cars were coming.
As I walked to my car I noticed I was limping (of course), and one of the parents was watching me. I shrugged it off, got into the car and drove to work.
Of course, now the damn knee hurts, and now that I’ve had some time to think about it, I’ve hit upon a new theory to explain my status as a “Hobbled Runner”.
I’ve got two completely different knees. Rather, to be more specific, I got two completely different sets of meniscus, or menisci. The “age” of my two knees varies greatly. My “good” healthy knee has 43 year old menisci, while the right knee and its menisci is a crabby old 85-year old knee.
Two MRIs revealed no tearing of the right menisci, only slight wearing. What it didn’t reveal, and what I believe is the case, is that my right menisci have lost its bounce. Whilst my left knee and its’ menisci still has some spongy bounce available to absorb the shocks of daily life, the left menisci is hard as a rock. I picture old, dry leather. When I landed on my right leg today, I could feel the shockwaves up my femur, and down my tibia.
Bottom line: It didn’t help to yell “Ah, Ha” - but it was fun.