Synovial Spite

Sinister intentions spill from these synovial adversaries — yet they are essential to motion. Damnable.

I have written before, somewhere, and briefly, of going into the doctor’s office stating that I thought I “had a cyst” beneath my knee, having known damn well that’s what it was.

Truthfully, I’m uncertain from what pit of hell this thing arrived. I placed the start of it as being during my run as a manager at some awful retail location, catching a pallet with my knee. I was good at merchandising and stocking, but my ability to ‘clean up’ the back room to make this process efficient was certainly something too. While stacking pallets to clear the floor so that it could be planned for the next truck, I reached a little too high and dropped a pallet onto myself. Memory, as mentioned innumerable times, is shaky at best, but for some reason my mind is picturing one of those heavy duty blue pallets (CHEP also exists in the US, but they appear to have photos of an updated version of their design there, where the UK site shows the same pallets I looked at). Ultimately, the pallet structure does not matter, as dropping a full pallet of any make onto one’s knee is only slightly more ideal than dropping it onto one’s toes. And so I made that decision that night, I would catch it with my leg and not my foot.

Thinking about it more, it is highly likely that the problem leading to my popliteal, baker’s, synovial cyst, whatever, existed before then. I recall during my childhood I had obtained a doctor’s note to remove me from a great deal of the gym activities as running hurt my back significantly. It was then that it was noted that there’s a heavy imbalance in the muscle of my legs. Frozen hams in the back, calves birthed directly from a cow, but nothing to counter that when it comes to the quads and quad-adjacent. Although I put this down to being a ‘walker,’ the logistics don’t quite add up there. Perhaps I simply don’t know how to walk correctly.

Regardless, there was a long period of time in the early and mid 2010s where I chalked it up to being “a ligament thing.” It was not, as my idle image studying one night illuminated the fact that the pain did not exist around any ligaments, rather a big, relatively empty space. And there it was, a photo of someone with a big swollen ball on their calf. “What is that? it’s interesting,” I said, then went on to discover the popliteal cyst. Palpating behind my knee only to discover some tissue I called spongy, I realized that was the likely diagnosis — and so it was.

Physical therapy was a total delight, although truly awkward at times. Something about silly steps in a room with other people doing silly things but idly staring in my general direction made my socially anxious self rather embarrassed, but I left with a good amount of tools, exercises, to keep my knee in decent condition. I have failed to keep up with them. I also had the joy of someone putting so much pressure on my calf that I felt it would simply turn into gel and spill out into the void. When I think about how much pressure I want on my calves, I recognize that as the correct amount. A steamroller would also suffice.

More recently, the pain has returned with a vengeance. Gently beating the hell out of my own calf, I felt…fluid. It is as if the cyst has ruptured and synovial fluid has begun to flow in rivers down my calf between the muscle and other tissue. One river feels to be to the side of my gastrocnemius, and if pressed in the right spot, the fluid will bubble to either side. Had I not already experienced fluids flowing into my body by way of an ovarian cyst popping under the pressure of me rubbing at it, this would be more concerning. Instead, it’s simply another stupid thing my stupid body is doing. Staying active instead of sitting cross-legged perpetually alleviates this, at least. Now convince me to get up and do something.

Symmetry is a beautiful thing. I am far from symmetrical, although most people are, and internally we are required to be. Visually the left and right side of my body differ in that the left seems to have more body hair. Less visually, one of my…I sweat profusely from the left cheek but not the right one. Is it ‘swamp ass’ if it’s only half? half swamp? It is an almost maddening feeling when anxiety sets in and it prepares to sweat, as if every pore is opening. I’m left to think of a number of Junji Ito works, namely Glyceride and Shivers. Obligatory Enigma of Amigara Fault? The asymmetry is probably much greater internally, so it is no surprise that synovial issues exist primarily on the right side of my body.

My wrist confuses and frustrates me to no end.

There are a number of things happening, so it is hard to pinpoint what exactly the problem is without, ah, getting inside. Or looking inside, I suppose the technology exists and I am certainly pale enough that if one shines a bright enough light on me it would be very easy for a well-educated person to assess the issue without slicing my arm open — although if that is the case I request to be awake and have a good visual of it myself. I desperately need to know what kind of nonsense is happening.

The Injury reoccurs with consistent repetitive use of that hand — specifically, the index finger and thumb. Many years ago I moved my mouse to the left side of my keyboard to reduce the strain on my right hand. It is nice to be proficient with both, I suppose, although a useless skill if I get the choice of where I want my mouse, and I will make that choice. Although typing is not an issue for these sorts of documents, typing for any extended length of time can cause The Injury’s revival. Similarly, mouse and keyboard use for games is out entirely, so although I am stuck playing on PC (not a complaint), I am still using a controller (also not a complaint, although I recognize this gives me a disadvantage in some games I do not play, thus it is a nonissue). Even controller use will aggravate it, specifically with quick-paced first person shooters. Although I enjoy the mind-numbing grind of Destiny 2, it is awful to me.

Whether or not this has always existed or came up as a result of falling during some…bizarre army nonsense that happened at my middle school, I do not know. All I know is I was trying to emulate some hand motions from some comic somewhere around that time (whether before or after I do not know) made me realize that I…cannot bend my thumb without my index finger following. This is comparable to bending one’s pinky finger and the ring finger following it. Assuming that you are structured similarly: the ring finger cannot be straightened while the pinky is actively bent and causes a great deal of pain if attempted. So it is the same with my thumb and index: bending the joint between the proximal and distal phalanges of my thumb causes my index to follow, the index cannot be straightened and any attempt to do so causes great pain. The pains of these attempts occur at similar structural locations-

Oh. Interesting.

I sat down to write this having come across some information that may have been valid, only to find exactly what my issue is just now while trying to find the right terms and reasons for the pinky/ring connection. I admit I’ve used some simpler terms that err on the side of incorrect, which…is fine. We learn.

Anyway, it’s Linburg-Comstock Syndrome. Interesting that it only affects the right side, but more fascinating is that I have a name for it. This has bothered me for over 15 years, and just now I am finding a name. Absolutely fantastic!

What do I do with this information? Offer myself as a case study? I mean, why not?

While I do not retract the idea that my problems are damnable, I do recognize that I can at least lessen their impact on me. The right exercise, avoiding certain repetitive motions that cause my wrist to act up, save up for surgery or something.

Amusing, honestly, that the theory I was going to delve into about anomalous connections of tendons (in my own shaky wording) was correct! This truly is an exciting moment in my life, at 6am on a Saturday when I meant to finish this very complainy document and have gone to bed by now!

Further digging leads me to realize that this does not answer whether or not this has always been present, but the likelihood of it seems high that it has, or at least arose from my growth like the exaggeration of my pectus excavatum, rather than resulting from an injury.

Now I do not know how to close this post. I have been completely thrown off, and it’s wondrous. I may study some more and come back and try to address the totality of how this feels and acts without overly anatomical wording (good luck).

What an unexpectedly good thing to stumble upon while I try to calm my brain before bed!



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Ovata, Acronicta

Ovata, Acronicta

Someone told me I was a good writer, so now I’m proving…something. Tend to one’s own flame, and do not extinguish the flames of others.