Get a handful of marbles and put them in a bag. Jiggle the bag. Now grab some dry leaves and rustle them. Mesh those two sounds, and you have an approximation of what my left knee sounds like when I go up the stairs. And, yeah, it feels like it sounds.
After months of the knee issue getting worse, taking a break while I stayed at my parents' house (which has no stairs), and then resuming with angrier intensity when we returned home, I finally broke down and saw the random primary care doctor my insurance company had assigned me to. I went to this appointment with both babies, by the way. Dr. Random was a pretty nice guy. He bent my knee about fifty different ways and then ordered some x-rays. Having witnessed the cranky x-ray tech telling me I would have to come back without the babies after waiting at least thirty minutes, a kind lab lady offered to watch them while I went in the room o' radiation.
The good news: It isn't arthritis! Yay!
The bad news: Dr. Random thinks it's Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, which is something hikers get. I haven't been hiking in, oh, about three years. So I've developed this from walking up and down the stairs THAT. MUCH.
Why do I go up and down the stairs that much? Cloth diapers. Unless we want to enjoy the wafting aromas of poopy diapers while we're eating, downstairs is out for a diaper pail, so that means that with every diaper change, I've been going up and down the stairs a total of six times (take Baby A up, go back down for Baby B, take Baby B up, change diapers, take Baby A down, go back up for Baby B, take Baby B down). Nevermind taking the diaper laundry up and down the stairs.
The prescription: weight lifting for my quads and hamstrings to strengthen the muscles that support that joint, wearing a knee brace, and laying off the cloth diapers.
I love cloth diapers. They're wonderful, but for now we're on a break.
The moral of the story: Stairs suck.