Knee Pain – Risk vs. Reward


Since June of 2012, I’ve had a knee pain that has never gone away. The pain started halfway through a cross-country cycling trip last summer. I had it checked out at an urgent care center and was diagnosed with bursitis. After dealing with the pain for 10 months, I finally had it checked out by an orthopedic specialist today in Dubuque, Iowa. A few x-rays and a quick examination was all it took for the doctor to diagnose me with tendinitis and chondromalacia of the patella (AKA patellofemoral pain syndrome). I can’t decide if it’s good news or bad news, or just news. I now need to weigh the risk vs. reward of my trip.

Risk vs. Reward

My immediate thoughts were, “What does this mean for my plans?” The doctor said to rest and ice it for 2-3 weeks. Since I’m planning on leaving mid-May, this wouldn’t push back my trip at all. But what if it the pain stays? I absolutely do not want tendinitis for the rest of my life. The pain is not excruciating but is enough to be annoying. The doctor does not seem to be worried about long-term effects other than continuing to have pain.

Step one is to rest and ice. I will plan to do this for at least 4 weeks. In mid-May, I’ll need to evaluate the pain and decide if the cycling trip is feasible. I obviously want to complete the trip through the Great Northwest, but it would not be worth having knee pain for the rest of my life. I may need to switch the plan to do what’s best for my knee. Maybe I’ll kayak the Mississippi and, afterwards, try the cycling trip. Or maybe I’ll rest longer than 4 weeks and then attempt the cycling trip. I’m not sure what’ll happen, but I do have options and can adapt as needed.

This may be the way to live life, as well. There will always be risks and rewards to all major decisions. Sometimes you just need to keep your options open, play it by ear, and make the decision that just feels right.

Stay tuned.

Image courtesy of scottchan /

About Trent

I started Frugal Purpose to share my love of personal finance to assist your pursuit of a more fulfilling life. I am a financial analyst by trade, traveler at heart, and want to share with you the beauty of this world.


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