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Topic: Best way to protect knees in steep descents?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 4:12 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Any certain style of exercise?  
(Build up quads?  Calves?)

Any particular technique?  
(Bend legs when landing from jumping down)

The trail I do has a steep descent that lasts over an hour of just bashing your knees.  One jump stepdown after another...(Is there a name for that?)
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 4:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Use trekking poles to reduce impact.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 5:29 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Montanalonewolf @ Aug. 01 2013, 1:59 pm)
QUOTE
Use trekking poles to reduce impact.

And not the "shock absorbing" ones.

For exercise nothing pretty much ever tested my knees quite like basketball. Play some hoops a couple times a week and your entire leg system should get fitter. Better than biking, IMHO, since with basketball (or bouldering) there's a lot of variability so more overall fitness rather than a simpler repetitive fitness constrained by one range of motion.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 5:49 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am not going to use trekking poles.  
They would totally get in the way on the ascent.
Plus, the descent is constant stair stepping & jumping down.  
I'm not sure they would help.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 5:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

If you have access to a leg extension machine, you can do this:  do leg extensions, but really concentrate on the negative-ie. letting the weight down slow.  This should build the shock absorbing ability of your quads.

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 5:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I am pretty sure that they would take the jarring away from the knees when used correctly.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 6:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

In the worst case scenario, try walking down backwards for 10 minutes.  Serious, just back down like you were on a ladder.  Different muscle groups, and easier on the knees.  

Trekking poles can collapse so they fit in your pack on the way uphill, if you do not need them.  I tend to use them more on the uphill, planting them and using them like handrails on the stairs, pulling myself up as I climb.  On the way down, I plant them ahead of me and lower myself to the step below, but this is not the way young guys move.  It is us older guys who have already done damage to our knees that have learned to use trekking poles.  Happens with each new generation.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 6:39 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I learned to use trekking poles at a relatively young age. No shin splints anymore. I use them off-trail all the time in extremely rough terrain. The only time they get put away is in terrain like this:







I do use them in terrain like this all the time:







Notice, nobody has recommended more padding in your shoes so far...


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 7:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Put the poles in front of you, put the weight on them as you step down.  It's worked for me too, plenty of times, and takes a lot of pressure off the knees.  If I'm scrambling hands-over-feet, I let them either dangle from my wrists for a minute, or put them away as ol-zeke mentions.

I don't find them "necessary" for all hikes, but for steep ascents and descents, I use them religiously.  Every time I do a quick dayhike (~6 miles r.t., 3000' straight up and then 3000' straight back down) here in the Flatiron peaks near my place in Boulder, they help a lot.

(Lotta knee-jarring ascents and descents getting up & down these peaks, and that hardly compares to the off-trail stuff that I do a lot of as well, but Tigger already outlined the gist of that:)


When you do step/leap down, don't land rigid on your leg, "jolting" your whole system.  That'll friggin' kill your knees.  Allow them to bend a bit (gotta have strong knees though, exercise helps), and land on your forefoot instead of your heel.  Let your foot (which is designed to flex, unlike your knee) take the initial impact.

But with poles, the impact on your legs is only a portion of what it is otherwise.  Take it or leave it.

- Mike


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 8:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Or, you could go to a website that has a bunch of folks that do what you want to do, and ask them.  Be sure to discount most of what they have to offer.  Young people have so little to be learned from those who have done similar things for a couple of decades.

Asking questions is a good thing.  Immediately saying you won't follow the advise offered is not a good thing.  Tough to get more helpful when the receptors are turned off.  


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 9:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I used to be highly skeptical about trekking poles as well, viewing them as merely another gimmick the outdoor industry cooked up to fleece us.  Then two years ago a friend convinced me to take them on a two week hike through the Grand Canyon which had a lot of steep up and down.  I came home a firm believer in them.  They made a world of difference for me. I experienced almost none of the knee pain I had experienced on previous hikes.  Plus, they lend a tremendous amount of stability. I'm sure they prevented a number of stumbles. Overall, they made a word of difference and I always take them with me now on any hike.

I do have to agree with Zeke. He just beat me in commenting.  I too have noticed in your posts that when you ask a question and folks here give you good faith advice based on their cummulative years of experience, advice that is overwhelmingly similar and sound, you are immediately argumentative or even scornful.  So, what's the point of asking?  I've been on these forums for years and have learned a tremendous amount from my fellow posters. I don't think you'll find a greater amount of collective wisdom concerning hiking anywhere. It's fine to disagree  but I'm afraid, to me at least, your attitude comes off making you look like a bit of an ungrateful, uninformed and pompous boor.  Just saying.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 9:23 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I count about a half dozen experienced backpackers recommending trekking poles in this thread for similar reasons.

Take it or leave it, but don't knock it till you've tried it.

And yes, if you're young and strong you may not like them now, but wait till you get to be 50+ and not only find them helpful, but wish you had used them when you were younger so you'd feel better in your 50s, 60s, 70s...

I don't intend to be mean, but if you're not going to listen, don't ask.

"I am not going to use trekking poles."  
"I'm not sure they would help."

If you're not sure, why say you won't use them?  If you're not sure, you should be open to suggestions.

HYOH.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 9:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

"So, what's the point of asking?"

IMHO? Better question?

What's the point in answering?

But that may just be me..   :D

We slow typists always look for the out.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 9:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Zeke's pretty smart. Good answers, both em.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 10:10 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Use the trekking poles on the way down, on the way up have them collapsed and tied to your pack.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 10:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
I am not going to use trekking poles.
They would totally get in the way on the ascent.
Plus, the descent is constant stair stepping & jumping down.  
I'm not sure they would help.
 
Don't scoff and belittle trekking poles when you've obviously never even tried them.

I started using trekking poles in about 1996 (~age 39) when they first started coming out as trekking poles and not just shortened (old) ski poles. I got a lot of laughs and rude comments when using them but I discovered very quickly how useful they were, even without shocks and non-collapsing, and have been using them ever since.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 11:00 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Go to Yosemite and watch people use trekking poles on the knee-jarring crazy-making granite steps on every trail there.

Or, follow me up some granite steps. My knees have started complaining at times - guess what? it gets better with poles.

There have been gnarly, steep hills in my recent past - poles kept me upright and climbing, and kept me from sliding to the bottom all in one long bounce.

Quit asking questions if you're just going to diss the experienced folks without asking more questions to get clarification, cause frankly, I'm hitting my limit. I'll just be waiting for you to show some hint of learning from your repeated mistakes on the forum before I say anything else.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 11:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(AlmostThere @ Aug. 01 2013, 11:00 pm)
QUOTE
Quit asking questions if you're just going to diss the experienced folks without asking more questions to get clarification, cause frankly, I'm hitting my limit. I'll just be waiting for you to show some hint of learning from your repeated mistakes on the forum before I say anything else.

+1

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 01 2013, 11:34 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

All I will add to the commentary is that if I had carried a lighter pack and used trekking poles over the last 40+ years, I would be hiking a more comfortable hike these days.
YMMV, but not much I'm afraid.    :;):


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 02 2013, 12:07 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Boy, this one trail you "do" that you've done..how many times? Once? Mmmm, it's a complicated endeavor, for sure. Maybe it would be simpler to find one that isn't such a logistical nightmare.
With all those drops and jumps, have you considered a helmet? Perhaps some knee and elbow pads would be a good idea, too. Safety first, I always say...
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 02 2013, 12:12 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Or, he could just carry an old tire up to the top and roll down.  Faster, has rubber for padding, and he won't need new boots.  

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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 02 2013, 1:38 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Take shorter steps. You can take faster, shorter steps if you wish. Diminishes stress on knees. Keep knees relaxed, especially if you start feeling pain or stress.  Body is more prone to injury when tight.

Maintain some level of awareness in your knees.

Poles can be helpful maintaining stability on the way down which can prevent stressing knees through extra force or awkward angles. I often only use them in difficult areas.

The more weight you are carrying the more potential stress.

Treat them well. Once damaged full recovery can be difficult.

Stretch quads at end of hike.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 02 2013, 9:39 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Trekking poles' efficacy has been proven time and again.  I'm another convert.  This many people recommending them should at least get you to try them and not simply dismiss their use.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 02 2013, 8:51 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(BreakneckScrambler @ Aug. 01 2013, 5:49 pm)
QUOTE
I am not going to use trekking poles.  
They would totally get in the way on the ascent.
Plus, the descent is constant stair stepping & jumping down.  
I'm not sure they would help.

Strap them to your pack uphill.

Other than exercises to strengthen the knee muscles and ligaments, poles are the way to go, especially on very steep or large drops.

I actually didn't use mine as much the last time out because I eased into hiking more than normal (since my son is slower than me) and built up the knees first.

They will slow you down on "stairs", but that is part of the point!
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 04 2013, 11:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yoga-likely the hardest & best full body workout.

Beach Body 10 Minute workouts with Tony Horton -P90X if you really want to be in shape. Nothing on the planet compares. Trust me!


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 05 2013, 4:43 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

trekking poles for me is essential on a down climb of 8000' or more....just make sure you extend the length of the poles appropriate to the slope angle, ie the steeper the terrain the more you extend the poles.

on the flip side i have seen trekking poles responsible for some falls...for instance a pole can get wedged in a rock and with all body weight placed on it can lead to a fall...but i'm sure it does much more good than bad
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 05 2013, 8:35 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Let's do some numbers for trekking poles.

On level ground where a pace is about 3 feet.

-5280 feet to a mile divided by 3 feet equals 1760 steps per mile
-Body weight with full pack ~200 pounds.
-200 pounds times 1760 steps equals 352,000 pounds per mile your knees/feet have to support.
-Assume that a person puts 25 pounds of downward force per step onto the trekking poles.
-The trekking poles transfer 44,000 pounds of weight per mile off of your knees/feet directly to the ground.

That's a lot of weight your knees/feet don't have to support. Plus, as an added benefit, you get an upper body workout by pushing down 25 pounds of force 1760 times per mile.

For descents and ascents, the number get larger because the number of paces per mile increases a lot. Your 3 foot pace can be as short as 1 foot.

I was 53 and had been backpacking for 30 years before I started using trekking poles. Starting even earlier can only be a good idea.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 05 2013, 9:22 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

After a couple serious backpacking trips in the last month, my abs are as close to "ripped" as they ever get. I've observed this before, but only after I adopted trekking poles about 5 years ago.

To me, it's visual evidence that the poles are transferring some of that load-bearing work from my knees to my core.
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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 10 2013, 8:42 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Another vote to use trekking poles. I've been using them since around 2008. I won't hike without them, no matter what the terrain. I've saved countless trips/falls and rolled ankles, moved a lot of thorn bush branches out of my path, and kept pine branches out of my face when bushwhacking.

You may have heard them referred to as "sissy sticks", "wussy wands", etc. I don't care what people call them - they are a necessity for me on the trail, and are for several people I hike with. One guy I know, if it wasn't for trekking poles he would not be able to hike period due to knee problems.


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PostIcon Posted on: Aug. 12 2013, 7:26 am Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

The other advantage for YOU to carry trekking poles, (and one advantage that many people here are too polite to point out), is that you can invert one and make a great seat out of it....try it.

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