I went to see the ortho yesterday. They took x-rays and manipulated my knee this way and that. The place has an assembly line feel to it. I've heard they are good at what they do, but it's sort of a cold place. There was a picture of all the docs (probably 30 of them) at the front desk, along with the physical therapists and other clinical staff. I was a little surprised that there was not one woman on the surgical staff there. All white men. I don't know if it matters.
Anyway, my diagnosis was arthritis in my knee. Arthritis? Really? My kneecap, where it sits on top of my thigh bone is over a thinning piece of cartilage. This explains the very localized pain on the outside of my knee. Nothing's broken (which is good), and they could go in and shave off the bone a bit, but no one wants to do that at this point. If it progresses badly, then they replace the joint somewhere down the line. Since the pain is confined to me hiking downhill, the physical therapist there is going to show me how to wrap my knee so that the knee cap is held a little to the inside. That, gel insoles, a good set of hiking poles, and I'll try again.
All in all, not bad news.
Plus, it's the weekend (soon), and it's going to be another nice one.