Got Knee Pain, Read This! | High Sierra Topix  

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!

Postby 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!

Postby 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!

Postby 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.

Mike
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Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Postby 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.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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!

Postby 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!

Postby 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!

Postby maverick » Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:21 pm

Hi OZ,

Read my posting here: viewtopic.php?f=19&t=7390
and see if it helps, if not send me a PM, will be glad to help! :D
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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!

Postby 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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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Postby maverick » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:28 pm

Hi Oz

Sent you a PM (private message). On top of this page you will see :
User Control Panel (1 new messages), just click on it and you'll retrieve my message.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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!

Postby flyfisher70 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:02 pm

Really great advice on strengthening the leg muscles around the knees.

I had a work related accident that hurt my left knee pretty bad. I had a tear of the MCL and meniscus tear as well. There was something going on with my knee cap as well. I had to be in a leg brace for about seven months before the orthopedic surgeon did repairs in my knee. This knee injury happened back in September of 2008. I gained a significant amount of weight over that time. I went from 195lbs all the way up to 247lbs, that in itself was not helping my knee injury any. After the knee surgery I started doing leg exercises to try to regain strength and rebuild muscles that atrophied. It was a really long time before my muscles began to get balanced once again. Last year in May 2012 I began to really have lots of pain in both knees, I had lots of problems with my stomach, nasty acid reflux. It got to a point where I had to go see a gastrointestinal specialist. I had only lost a little of the weight I had gained and was 227lbs as of that May 2012 visit to the doctor. He pretty much told me my problem was my weight, he said loose the the weight and my acid reflux should get better plus I would feel a lot better. Well sine then I started a walking routine and tried to jog a bit but my knee hurts way to much so I stopped the jogging. I ride my bike which is really good and I started hiking as well. My current weight is 185lbs. It's taken me a long time to get where I am today but I feel really good with little to no knee pain, plus my acid reflux is gone for the most part. This coming July I will attempt to head up to Cottonwood Lakes for a bit of fly fishing and to take some photographs. This will be my first real test on my knee, I have not backpacked at all since before my injury. My longest hike to date is a 6 mile hike with no pack and just carrying water. I have not had any trouble with my knee and feel confident thus far. I'm still trying to loose about 20 more pounds before July which seems reasonable to me. I'm wondering if I should start carrying a pack with a few items to see how my knee does. I don't wear my knee brace, but the doctor said it would be best to wear if I attempt any type of physical activity that requires lots of pivoting. I just hate the thing, it get to hot and sweaty. If you have any advice as to what else I could do to prepare for my July trek that would be great.

Thanks
Benny
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Re: Got Knee Pain, Read This!

Postby maverick » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:28 pm

Hi Benny,

Would recommend that you slowly add weight to you pack and about a month/month
and a half out from your trip your pack weight should be close to what you'll be carrying
on your trip. Also use trekking poles, they make a huge difference, and can save
your knees especially during steep descents which does the most damage to the
knees.
Besides strengthening your Vastus Medius (quad muscle above the knee) learn to
use your hip/glute muscles effectively. Many folks doing squats, romanian dead lifts
or lunges never learn how to activate these muscles correctly or at all, and instead
depend on weaker muscles like the quads or even weaker muscles in the lower back
which is dangerous.
Listen to your bodies signals backing off when needed and employ RICE when needed.
Wearing a knee brace may be good at the beginning, but will make muscles around
the knee weak and will compromise balance if worn to long (unless you had some
sort of permanent cartilage or other structural damage).
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

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!

Postby ndwoods » Wed Apr 20, 2016 11:55 pm

Thanks! At 63 I thought I was headed to knee replacements the pain was so bad. I had stopped running and pain would not go away. Then I started Crossfit in Jan and the pain is almost gone completely! I have been coached to do pretty much what you are saying but I did not understand ...just that it was helping so I kept doing as coached. Now I understand better!
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