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Column

Pain in the knee

Athletics have been a big part of my life. Even before I was old enough for organized sports, my parents had my brother, sister and I in the backyard playing wiffle ball and throwing a little football around. 

I started softball in second grade and have played a lot of summers since then. I was a four-sport athlete in high school participating in volleyball, basketball, track and field and softball. I was recruited to continue as a thrower in track and field at Wartburg College, so I had a four-year break from softball. After college graduation, I started playing slow pitch and did that every summer until I moved to Newton five years ago. 

My body has taken its fair share of abuse from the activities over the years. Participating in college track and field was especially taxing, but I loved every minute. I was a thrower and strength was and is a big part of that sport. By my senior year, I could bench 150 pounds, squat 355 and power clean 155. I was proud the years of hard work paid off with my best maxs of my career.

Despite the wear and tear, I thankfully made it through more than 20 years of organized sports without any serious injury. It left me with creaky ankles and knees and both shoulders have their fair share of scar tissue, but nothing I couldn’t handle on a daily basis.

At the beginning of June, I woke up with a swollen knee. It’s not the first time this has happened, but typically it goes away on its own after a few days. The frustrating part was I couldn’t remember doing anything to injure my knee. Taking care of a 5 month old has it’s share of bending and moving as he becomes more active while playing on the floor but I don’t remember any bad pop or pain. 

The only thing unusual I could remember is I nearly stepped on our cat — twice. I did some “fancy” footwork to avoid her, and I may have tweaked it in the process. After a few days the swelling went down, but a dull ache remained. It got a little better in the next few weeks and then worse again. 

After three weeks, the pain wasn’t going away, and I knew I needed to see a doctor. I made an appointment at the clinic and found out I have a slight strain in my meniscus, as I suspected it might be. The good news is I may not need surgery, but I do have to start physical therapy twice a week plus daily exercises. 

The pain has already lessened but it is still quite sore. I am hoping the PT will solve the problem because if it doesn’t, surgery may be my only option. Now that my son is almost 6 months old, the last thing I want to be is laid up from surgery. 

Stairs are still the worst on the knee. We live in a split level home so I can’t avoid stairs. But, my husband, Tim, has been helpful to keep as much strain off it as possible. He helps carry things up and down the stairs so I don’t have to, which is very much appreciated. It helps to have a wonderful husband when you have knee pain. 

So wish me luck with the physical therapy. I can’t wait for the day I can walk up the stairs with zero discomfort. Hopefully my cat will stop trying to trip me, too.

Contact Pam Pratt at ppratt@newtondailynews.com

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