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Knees

How do you prepare for the rigorous physical requirements of high elevation adventure? Strength and endurance are key, but are only part of a more complex equation. How do you prepare for changes in altitude, exposure, diet, etc.? How do you mentally prepare? Learn from others and share what you know about training in advance for outdoor adventures.
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Knees

Postby BSquared » Fri Feb 02, 2007 7:12 pm

OK, everybody seems to have knee problems now and again, so I'm going to post mine and see what people suggest. What I find is that walking up stairs or doing stair-stepper exercises, and even sometimes jogging, makes my knees hurt. What's odd is that when I hike, I don't seem to have problems at all. My spouse, however, has persistent problems with long downhills.

So what do people recommend for strengthening knees without destroying them in the process? I'm doing occasional quad presses (with about 70 lbs) -- are those likely to help?

Oh: I'm 61, if that's a help :)

-B2



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Postby Rosabella » Fri Feb 02, 2007 9:49 pm

Well, I would suggest ballet but I doubt if I'd get a lot of interested responses here. Seriously, ballet is great for strengthening the legs and knees, plus it focuses on proper alignment and carriage of the body... good ways to prevent injury.

But... I also like to run up and down the stadium stairs at the local high school. I warm up well by walking around the track a time or two before running; I started by just doing a couple sets of stadiums and then increase from there. I haven't ran for a couple months - "Nutcracker" kept me too busy, then I had surgery, but I'll start up again in about a week or two (when I get my Dr.'s OK).

I know it helped me. My knees used to ache terribly after a long down hill haul, but I haven't experienced it since doing the stadiums. I had NO knee problems this last summer on the JMT.

Oh.... and I'm 55.
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Postby The Other Tom » Sat Feb 03, 2007 7:58 pm

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Postby BSquared » Sat Feb 03, 2007 8:22 pm

Thanks for the suggestions, Rosabella -- I'm afraid ballet isn't in the cards ;) (though I definitely did my time hauling around carloads of little girls with their hair up in buns, long ago :nod: ). When you say "stadium steps" do you really mean "steps" or are you actually running on the bleachers themselves? In large stadiums, as I recall, the steps are all pretty standard, but the seats rise higher as one gets farther up in the stadium, yes?

Thanks for the reference, TOT! They all seemed to give similar advice on that forum: strengthen the quads (and hamstrings, but that's not a problem for me), cycle, and use poles when going downhill. Will do all of that; thanks again!
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Postby Rosabella » Mon Feb 05, 2007 11:46 am

I just use the local high school stadium, so it would definately NOT fall into the category of a "large stadium". One flight up is comparable to running up about two "floors", so one set is "run up-across-down-across-up-across-down" then run around the back of the bleachers to start again (it's not a very big school OR stadium). I run on the actual stairs.

I've tried going to the local gyms, but I just can't get inspired by the machines. Going down to the High School early morning when it's just starting to get light and there's no one there... well, I just can't think of a better way to start the day, or a more enjoyable way to get a quick workout.
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Postby copeg » Mon Feb 05, 2007 12:28 pm

I'm probably not too qualified to answer this as I'm no physical therepist and I really haven't had any serious knee pain in my life (except of all places, on the JMT). That being said I do try and protect my knees. I used to do lots of squats and what I learned long ago to protect your knees is never let the angle your upper and lower leg make get smaller than 90 degrees, and never let your knee go past your ankle/foot. I've translated this rule in my other excercises like biking, stairstepping, weight lifting, etc... (I hope that made any sense). I'd recommend - even just for a single session - hiring a trainer who could recommend specific excersizes and also go through your current workout and recommend steps to take to help those knees.
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Postby Rosabella » Mon Feb 05, 2007 5:44 pm

Correct, Greg, and I'm gonna add a little more to that (and slip in a little ballet technique that is really helpful for knees) - any time you're bending you knees, i.e. "squats", be sure to keep your knees in line with your foot, as oppossed to letting the knee roll in or come foreward (basically "screwing" the knee).

An easy way to do this is just keep the arches of your feet pulled up and don't let the feel roll in. I tell my younger students to pretent that there are eggs under their arches. This isn't usually an issue when you're in parallel, but when your knees are out to the side, like when you're doing "squats", this is critical.
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Postby mountaineer » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:03 pm

It is probably lack of fluid in the cartilage and there is nothing you can do about it other than taking it easy for a long time. My doctor said that at my age(I am 42), it is a common thing in active, outdoor types to start having the cartilage dry up a bit. I was having pain and weakness in my knees when stepping up high and then putting the weight on it to lift the other foot up. Also, when standing up and really trying to pedal the bicycle hard while going up hill. Hiking downhill made my knees ache, but not in the same way. The extending of the knee in the situations I described above is what was painful
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Postby cmon4day » Mon Feb 05, 2007 9:58 pm

I'm 48 and my knees aren't the same. A couple of years ago I purchased trekking poles and that has helped take the load off of my knees tremendously. I strongly recommend them to all of us baby boomers.

Also, take glucosimine (sp?) It supposed to help with the cartiliges. It takes awhile though.

Vic
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Postby maverick » Tue Feb 06, 2007 12:43 pm

Im 47 and luckly have not have had any knee problems. Training
year round has helped me keep my knees strong.
Try developing an off season regiment where you do mainly strength
training coupled with some interval training. Also do not forget to do
some type of stretching like yoga.
Try alternating your aerobic activities so your not allways hiking and
wearing down your cartilage with the same movements.
Try glucosamine it works for some people.
Use trekking poles on descents! Using them on ascents may wear on
your shoulders after awhile.
I have trained some people who neglected training there hamstrings
which will cause knee problems because of muscle imbalances.
With all that said, go see a doctor and get checked out before you do
anything! Dont self diagnose or work through the pain you may make
things worse .
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Postby Trekker » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:55 pm

BSquared;

Where is the knee pain located? Try to be as specific as possible. I typically find knee pain to be located in 3 main areas of the knee: underneath the kneecap (sometimes feels like it's around the outer edges); within the joint (usually on the medial or lateral part of where the femur, the thigh bone, and the Tibia, the large lower bone, meet); or right below the knee cap. Does your knee make a popping or grinding sound?

Depending on your answer, I can probably give you a fair idea of where your problem is located. The issue may not originate with your knee at all.

When you let me know, I'll probably be able to explain to you why it doesn't hurt when hiking. :nod:
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Postby Trekker » Tue Feb 06, 2007 10:58 pm

Mountaineer;

I think your doctor is wrong.
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