I’m Ashamed of My Limp

A chronic leg issue has me grappling with my self-image

Ellen Eastwood
Crow’s Feet

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Woman with her back to camera walking on the beach with a beautiful sunset
Photo credit: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

A while back I was out with a friend. As we walked to our destination, I saw her eyes dart furtively in the direction of my gait.

“How’s your leg?” she asked in an empathetic tone.

It was clear why she thought to ask at that moment. My limp was glaringly obvious.

Several years ago my leg started feeling strange for no discernible reason. It wasn’t painful, but a bit stiff and tender. It took effort to maneuver it into a regular walking pattern. After a few minutes, it would warm up.

One day it seemed a little worse. As I was ascending a ramp into a nearby building, I sank down as something around my knee gave way. I was two-thirds of the way to the ground before I caught myself and was able to stand back up. Shaken, I turned around and went home.

Since then I’ve seen doctors and physiotherapists, but no one could determine the root cause. Compared to my right side, my left hip is stiffer and that leg is a little longer. No one is sure if that’s the issue or symptomatic of a bigger problem.

The professionals gave me helpful advice — keep the surrounding muscles strong and flexible. Use a roller for the fascia. Do pilates to strengthen and stretch the area.

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Ellen Eastwood
Crow’s Feet

Culture and lifestyle writer | Generalist | Curious | Witty on a good day | Contact: elleneastwood@outlook.com