Knees

by Andrew Stein

The lateral collateral ligament (LCL), also known as the fibular collateral ligament, can be found on the outside of the knee connecting the femur to the fibula. Although not entirely sure that this was the ligament at fault, based on the location of my pain, I have chosen to hand it the blame for my discomfort. Uphill was cardiovascularly challenging, but downhill was challenging in most other ways, and especially on my joints. My “extra bone” ankle was sore but okay; however, the lateral side of my left knee was not as okay.

After the first day of descending, my knees were sore, but I hoped by stretching upon arrival and before starting the next morning, I would be okay. I started down the trail on day 7 of my trek and instead of trekking or even just walking, my gait is best described as hobbling. I am soon passed by Tim, Mark and the rest of Team Australia, who take pity on me and offer help. They start pulling out their wrapping tape, scissors, and strong anti-inflammatory medication. I take out my razor in an attempt to shave where the tape will be placed to avoid the unnecessary “waxing” that would occur upon its removal. My shaving was helpful although I know it wasn’t perfect based on the burn I felt when tearing the tape off.

The LCL works with the MCL, ACL and PCL (also located in and around the knee) to provide stability. With my lateral collateral ligament unhappy, the tape would have to help maintain said stability. Two wide strips were placed where the LCL and MCL are located on either side of my patella bone, and two narrow strips were wrapped around the top and bottom holding the thicker tape in place and hopefully locking the knee.

In the end, my knee was stabilized, my pain was lessened, and the final stretch of my Himalayan adventure made much more enjoyable. I owe those days to Team Australia. Thank you! Fortune and luck were again on my side and it’s hard for such a pattern to go unnoticed.