Call me Eileen

January 25, 2007 on 7:30 pm | By | In Fitness Musings | 2 Comments

The owner of my gym recently pointed out something quite disturbing: I’m lopsided.

I’ve been plagued with a bum right knee ever since I took up running again almost two years ago. A few months back I took advantage of my gym’s free injury screening, and the physical therapist diagnosed it as “patellafemoral pain syndrome” or classic runner’s knee (VERY common among women runners). The pain has never been acute — more of a minor but always-there discomfort — so I haven’t been too particularly worried. But I’m a notorious stretching avoider, and tight calves and hamstrings contribute to the problem. I’m also an over-pronator, so I need shoes with lots of support (my current ones are due for a replacement).

Over the past couple of weeks the pain has been more severe, and as I was griping about this to the gym owner she voiced her observation that I was off-kilter. “How rude,” I thought. “Sure, I may be a bit wacky, somewhat zany, heck, even kooky at times. But off-kilter? HARRUMPH.”

Then I realized she was talking about my quadriceps: my right quad is noticeably smaller than my left. Weak or under-developed quad muscles can cause the patella to track out of alignment, which irritates the femoral groove. No wonder I’m sore!

This discovery has forced me to become more aware of how I stand. Sure enough, I tend to favor my left leg. I’m right-handed, so when I’m cooking all the prep work is done with my right hand. I find my right hip won’t get in the way when I’m chopping if I tilt slightly and put my weight on my left leg.

Of course, I really need to get myself to a physical therapist for a proper diagnosis and some strength-building exercises, but in the meantime, if you see someone doing one legged squats while standing in the check-out line at Whole Foods, it’s probably me.


  1. Okay, very weird. I’m left-handed, and when I cook, I do everything on my right leg (like a flamingo sometimes), and I have a bigger right quad. I thought I was the only one.

    Comment by Jess — January 25, 2007 #

  2. Just adds to the glamour, doesn’t it? 🙂

    Comment by ovens2betsy — January 25, 2007 #

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