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Hi, my name is Madge and I am 18. But my knees are not what they should be for my age. They have scar tissue all over them both internally and externally and sadly they stop me from doing a lot of the things that I really want to do!
The problem is that my kneecap rests too high on my leg- I also have loose joints to begin with- and the result is unwanted and constant pain when I try to do any activity (longboarding, climbing stairs, etc.) that requires a lot of knee power. Among these problems however, the WORST is that my kneecap slides out of place when my leg, knee, foot, ankle is moved in a way that causes my patella to 'slide' or 'pop' out of place. This happens on both knees and is the worst in the winter because of ice and other slippery surfaces plus the addition of the cold weather which seems to make my knee problems worse. This started happening to me a few years before puberty and has plagued and haunted my anxious mind for years.
At first, my knee problems weren't too bad and when my kneecap popped out of place, it would usually pop back when I straightened my leg. It also didn't occur very often either. I honestly don't remember specific times that my knee went out very often, and when I do it's usually because it was something I never wanted to happen again.
I've always been in ballet. I started when I was four or five and didn't stop until I was about 15. I always had problems in class, but my ballet teachers learned what was happening when I fell and a few tears and an ice pack later I was usually good as new, and the injuries weren't too terrible either. But, one year during my ballet school's annual Nutcracker performance, I was taking my position for our first dance and when I went to step on my leg, my kneecap slid out of place and I fell on it while it was still out. It was terrifying. The way I had fallen caused my patella to stay out of place for longer than normal. And I couldn't walk. Along with the humiliation of falling on stage, I was haunted by thoughts of something even worse happening. Long story short, I required physical therapy and this terrible incident took months to overcome both mentally and physically.
This was the worst it ever was.
But middle school was equally terrible. I wasn't very pretty, or popular and everyone called me weird and strange (and I was hehe). I'd also lost my closest friends to the popular people... But that's another story. It was a really hard time for me and it was a really, really bad place too. Even still, I did really well in my classes, but of course, my knees embarrassed me on a regular basis and the kids would laugh whenever I fell because of my kneecap. This made me cry a lot. No one understood why I fell or how painful and limiting my problem was.
High school was, er, nah, I don't need to tell you. The main idea is that this has been a continuous problem that is unrelenting. And over the years the pain and swelling is more easily provoked by everyday activity. When people laughed at me, it made me feel furious and defeated because I knew that those people laughing at me were in perfect health, no joint problems, no sympathy. Not that I wanted sympathy. I just wanted people to understand that it was out of my control and agonizing.
The reason I decided to write this was because I fell in my dance class a few days ago and kind of had a minor break down because of it. I felt the weight of this burden bearing down on my heart, I just felt helpless, hopeless, like I could never accomplish the things I wanted to because my knee problems limit me so much.
I'm writing this because I'm sure that someone out there has a problem similar to me and needs someone to understand how hard it is. And I'm hoping that after reading this, even if you can't relate to my predicament, that you have more maturity than my middle school buddies and make sure that people are okay before pointing and laughing.
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