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How I Took Walking for Granted

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Walking is an everyday task. We learn it when we are around 1-2 years old. Half the time it’s muscle memory.

I have rheumatoid arthritis. A year ago I was having trouble with my knee. It pops out of place when I walk and it always hurts. Then I started to have problems with just walking. I was limping and then it got so bad I was dragging my left leg around.

My rheumatologist referred me to an orthopedic doctor, who was finally able to tell me what was happening after months and months of pain. I have patellofemoral pain syndrome with hip weakness, which means the cartilage under my kneecap is damaged. Every time I walk, my kneecap would hit the thin damaged part of the cartilage and cause horrible pain. Because of the pain, I started limping, which caused my hip to have no strength.

I did six months of physical therapy which helped tremendously, but three months later the pain came back and I’m having trouble walking again. I don’t want to have to rely on my walker or crutch. I want to walk as well as I can.

I have to remind myself every time I take a step that it’s heel-foot-toe, that I need to lift my knee up and let my arms move side-to-side naturally. Every morning before I get out of bed I do stretches to strengthen my knee and hip. Basically, I have to teach myself how to walk again every day.

Before all of this, I took walking for granted. And I will never again.

Getty image by Andrey Popov.

Originally published: August 14, 2019
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