Tuesday, April 01, 2008


Today I had my long awaited appointment with the knee injury specialist at the local hospital. I went along a little worried about the fact that my knee isn’t particularly bothering me at the moment, and that perhaps the specialist would just dismiss it as some minor, passing thing, only to have it recur weeks later.

I got the bus to Queen Mary’s and sat around in the waiting room, lorded over by the ubiquitous NHS crone*. I was impressed by the way that, with the exception of a very pretty woman (who I tactfully refrained from staring at) I was the only one in the room who wasn’t either A: over 200 pounds or B: over 200 years old.

The consultation was relatively quick, I was poked, prodded and generally jiggled about for about ten minutes, punctuated by occasional

‘does it hurt when I do this?’


‘does it hurt when I do this?’


And asides to the medical intern who was sitting in, like

‘note the abnormal range of movement of the joints’

‘get me some tea’

At the end of these ineffable medical manipulations he explained to me that the cause of my pain wasn’t a strained ligament like the GP had guessed, but something called Hyperlax ligaments – this means that my ligaments are all stretchy - way more than usual - which is why, amongst other things, I can bend my knees both ways. The side effect of this is that if I were to go running a lot (as I did) my ligaments can’t hold my joints in place properly. The clicking and pain in my knee was caused by damage to the cartilage and bone of the joint. Damage which is, apparently, permanent.

I’ve got to see a physiotherapist a few times over the next month or so, and I’m absolutely forbidden to do any running. Ever.


*I’m not sure whether these women are unique to the English healthcare system, or if they’re an international thing - but whenever there is a desk in a medical establishment then the person behind that desk will be in their mid to late fifties, grey haired, and seem to be permanently irritated with you