Grasping beauty

· 2 min read

Long term thinking

Sketch of a knee, Vincent van Gogh, 1886 Sketch of a knee, Vincent van Gogh, 1886

I have had acute pain in my right knee for several years, which has only been getting worse over time. I had mostly ignored it, or tried to compensate for it by using a spacer on the bottom of my right cycling shoe. Treatment had been put off for so long because I thought it was a minor issue, and I didn't want to spend money on fixing it. I had bigger things to worry about. I was focused on getting faster on my bike and stronger at the core barbell lifts. I wanted my money to go into investments, not some expensive treatment plan.

Last month I reached the point where I could no longer ignore the issue. It was starting to affect me mentally, and there was a growing concern that I would never be free of the pain. I had managed to convince myself that the cause was an unfixable leg length discrepancy. I never bothered to test this hypothesis, but it conveniently validated my decision to not get it looked at by someone more knowledgeable.

Finally I relented and had an assessment done by a physio. They identified that my woefully weak glutes and core meant I wasn't able to stabilise and control my movement properly. My other muscles were trying to compensate, but they would never be able to do this well enough.

A relentless focus on a single measurement had a significant cost over the long term. I was aware I had a problem, but I could not easily resolve it myself and I was not willing to invest the resources necessary to fix it. I underestimated the impact it would have on me in the long term.

I think the lessons I learnt from this experience can be applied generally:

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