January 4, 2006

Recent Injury Or Sign Of Age?

Traditionally, men cross their legs differently than women. Women rest one knee atop the other, or one ankle atop the other with their thighs held parallel to the ground and near one another, thus requiring that the woman's knees be bent about ninety degrees, like the women at right. Men cross one knee atop the other much less often than women do and when they do so, they traditionally hold their knee with a hand; more often they place one ankle atop the opposite knee. Men do use the ankle-on-ankle technique (or a variant, foot-on-foot), but usually this is when they are more reclined or at least their knees are held straighter.

I'll leave the sexual innuendo behind such postural communication to those who concern themselves with such things, because that's not my point. The point is that when trying to engage in this activity (crossing my legs) I've encountered some degree of pain -- and I'd not have discovered this pain were the social convention of how men are supposed to cross their legs other than it is.

I've noticed that for the past few days, I can't lift my right leg all the way up to the point where I can rest the ankle on my left knee. I can do it if I grab my leg with my arms and pull, but even then there is discomfort in the joint between the pelvis and the thigh, the area around what Gray's Anatomy calls the gracilis and adductor muscles. Oddly, I do not have any pain, discomfort, or decreased range of motion with my left leg and it will lift under its own power.

I don't know if I tweaked my leg while painting, lifting something, or what. Or maybe it's a sign of the reduced flexibility that I can expect as I approach middle age. But I think I'm kind of young for that sort of thing, and I've only noticed this over the past couple of days, so it must be an injury of some kind rather than a degenerative condition.

Working personal injury cases for so long has taught me all these marvelous words. But it's still strange to use them to describe myself.


Salsola said...

I don't think it is a sign of middle age, you are at least ten to twenty years away from that.

Anonymous said...

*I* cross my legs man-style because it's more comfortable for me. Girly-style crossed legs tend to fall asleep faster on me. I have also heard girly-style can contribute to varicose veins, but do not know if this is true. Every now and then, I get a pain in the hip of the crossed leg after doing this for a long period of time.

Also, one's crossed man-style leg makes a good table for reading and writing. For obvious reasons, I avoid doing this in public, at least while wearing a skirt.

I think that as a rule of thumb, if there's something physical the two sexes do differently, the men's way is the natural, comfortable way, whereas the women's is altered to conform to some social convention.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of sounding like a new-agey former Angeleno, I have one word for you: yoga.