Got Knee Pain, Read This!

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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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by quentinc » Sat Sep 19, 2009 9:50 am

Thanks Mav.








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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by whrdafamI? » Sun Mar 06, 2011 9:55 am

This last summer a friend of mine I grew up with and me teamed up and did a backpack together for the first time in many years. We did A North Lake loop via the Larmarck Col. Very cool trek and I reccomend it highly. When we got back it wasn't more then a few days and I had severe knee pain. I figured that I did some damage on the trail. Wrong conclusion. It must have been a coincidence but Osteo/Arthiritus had made its presense known. Not a happy camper about this at all. I thought that was for older people and I'm only 57. What I am trying to do for this is weight reduction in the pack and on my body as well as trying to walk 3 to 5 miles a day. Doesn't always happen but I have good intentions. Any other suggestions?
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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by quentinc » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:59 am

Something that seems to have been helpful has, odd as it may sound, is taking curcumin pills. That's an ingredient in the spice turmeric, and has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects (at least in the lab). If you're an absolute curry fanatic, you could probably ingest the same amount by dumping turmeric on your food, but I find the capsules a lot more practical. I used to take glucosamine, but dropped that after a number of studies came out questioning its usefulness.

That said, it's always hard to pinpoint exactly what is helping. I've adopted Maverick's suggestion of doing step-ups as a strengthening exercise. It didn't seem to be making any difference for the first few months, but it could also be part of what is helping now. Also, for uphill, I've finally figured out how to get the glutes and hip muscles more into the action (another Mav suggestion) -- by landing on my heel and then pushing through. That's a little bit difficult on scree or other loose terrain, but I can really feel the difference.

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:27 am

One size does not fit all. Good advise for younger hikers may not be good for the over-60 crowd. At some point you probably only make things worse with deep knee bends or other standard exercises. The best solutions I have found is 1) always use trekking poles- and go to a class to really learn how to properly use them, 2) lighten the pack - my 10-day pack is now only 35 pounds and 3) slow down, especially going down hill. I now limit my downhill drop to no more than 4,000 feet in one day. I still can do 6,000 feet uphill in one day (Tabooose Pass). I also keep my hours hiking to about 8 hours per day or less and stop by 3PM. This extra rest time really helps. I no longer run for in-town exercise. I bicycle and walk. Inflamation needs to be avoided. See if you can get some drugs from your doctor that reduces inflamation. I use Advil every day when I am backpacking, but this is not good for long term. If I had the insurance or extra cash, I would hire a physical therapist to help develop a work-out routine. I do not think your average gym trainer knows a lot about exercise for over-60 people.

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by oldranger » Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:47 pm

I think WD has it about as right as you can get for those around 55 and over. Would not quibble one bit on her advice! I think the hardest thing for me to remember during the "off Season" is to give myself recovery time. Day 4 of 4 days in a row of some combination of skiing, lifting, bootcamp ,and hiking with over 2-4 hours a day of pushing myself leaves me pretty wasted. I have to remind myself to take time off. During summer backpacks I seldom carryi a pack more than two days in a row. A day of fishing is a day of rehab! I try and do WD one better and quit hiking by 2 but last summer during my late trip I did some longer days but almost always had a layover the following day. One thing for certain whatever your age--it is easier to stay in shape than get in shape.

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by maverick » Mon Mar 07, 2011 4:27 pm

Hi Oldmanonthetrail

I would go to a doctor and see what it is causing you the pain, and then treat it. Getting a physician or physical therapist that is either a backpacker/hiker or at least sports minded makes a real big difference!

Most trainers are okay, but as most, it is only a 9-5, so you really have to shop around and find one that will work with you, and understands your goals.

Your pain could be arthritis, meniscus related injury, or something else.

A lot of folks when they train concentrate on the quads, and calves, neglecting there hamstrings which can lead to a muscle imbalance and can lead to knee injuries in the long run.

Also like Q mentioned, learning how to activate the strongest muscles (glutes), and learning how to use them can make a big difference.

Hiking poles are a knee saver, and should be used especially down hill, with proper form of coarse.

As we reach our 40's and 50's you need to allow more time for you muscles to recover or you will over train risking injury in the long run, and longer injury recovery times. Staying flexible with yoga is another important thing to consider especially as one gets older.
Also cross training during the off season can extend ones backpacking/hiking years.

You have to train less intensely and more smartly.
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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by OzSwaggie » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:50 am

Hi Maverick
Thanks so much I've been looking for some information on correct posture backpacking downhill and so am grateful. I'm a newbie 47y/o (bad combo I know!) backpacker and with longer descents and higher weights am feeling what I think is "runner's knee" (ITB friction) on some days, not all. I have been trying to concentrate on standing up straight and not leaning too much on the poles, which from what you are saying is probably exactly the wrong thing to do ... SO anyway can I ask you a question? Ok, another question .. :) Going downhill, I'm picturing from your description "hips back" sort of bending at the hips like < this shape ? (if you are going left to right downhill) with the head over the feet but the back leaning forward at an angle - is this right? Do you have to be careful not to "sway" your lower back (I'm female and wondering whether this would put pressure on my dodgyish lower back ?). I'm keen to give this a go next outing... I'm trying ITB stretches but finding it hard to do them correctly in the field... I would love to see a video or photos about this as it's a bit hard to picture from a written description.

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by OzSwaggie » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:52 am

Oh should add sometimes get patella tracking probs too, uphill only, standing up nice and straight and going slow helps enormously with this, haven't had it for ages now!

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by maverick » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:21 pm

Hi OZ,

Read my posting here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7390" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
and see if it helps, if not send me a PM, will be glad to help! :D
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org

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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Post by OzSwaggie » Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:14 pm

Hello again Maverick

Just wanted to thanks for the link, I had a practice up and down our local hill today, MUCH better on the downhill using the poles properly. But I don't seem to be able to get those glutes working on the uphill, just working poor quads to death... I'll keep trying. Sorry to pester you but any tips for down STEPS as opposed to hills?

(What is a PM?)

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