So the PT came in, poked at me, and made me lay in various positions while bending, lifting, and otherwise manipulating my legs. Then he left the room and came back with a life-size plastic model of the structure of a healthy knee and pointed to a join between the unnaturally blue tendony thing and the plastic bone. "This is the problem" he said "you see this thing? It's right in the middle of the leg bone? Well, on you it's not there, it's all the way over here" and he poked the little bump under my knee. " So, when you bend your knee the tendon isn't moving through this groove above the kneecap, but is grinding against the edge of the bone. So, it's already real susceptible to inflammation. And right now you have a LOT of inflammation going on in here."
And there is that word again.
So, the verdict is that I am put together all wrong (tell me something I don't know!) so when you add in a ton of inflammation you get a ton of pain. He gave me these day-glo rubber tube things and instructed me to do an exercise called "the clam" (No. Really. They thought that was a good name for it). And to ice my knees "aggressively" which means five times a day, both sides. And then we'll see how things are in another month. The thing in my knee that forms a little lump that clunks around when I squish it is the muscle supporting the inner edge of my knee cap going in to "emergency spasms" (or some damn thing) in an effort to deal with the effects of my shitty skeletal structure combined with my shitty auto-immune thing. Well, that explains that, anyway.
While I would dearly love to address the root cause of all this pain, the inflammation, there is very little that Kaiser can do for me besides give me anti-inflammatory drugs. But, hey, at least I *can* take them and haven't had any serious troubles from them yet. I bleed like a stuck pig when I poke myself in the finger at work (constantly) but otherwise I am not experiencing trouble. And it keeps me, at least for now, from having to try disease modifying drugs like TNF inhibitors (which my sister uses because YAY this is genetic and she can't take the anti-inflammatory drugs, but you have to give yourself injections and I am pretty sure that would make me throw up)
The good news is that the PT was very impressed with how strong and flexible my legs are, which is all thanks to ballet. When I was first starting in September my legs positively shuddered during pliés. After my first class my teacher spent quite a while with me, sitting on the floor showing me exercises I could use to strengthen my janky thigh muscles to protect my tricky knees. Aside from enjoying dancing I feel better when I think I am doing something positive for myself, being proactive and taking command of my own body. Also, considering I wouldn't have quit anyway even if he'd told me I was just doing myself more damage... I am glad to hear that that is NOT the case.