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Thread: knee pain

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    Default knee pain

    I went on my first weekend trip of 2014, and did the AT from Sunset Fields parking area to the James River footbridge...the last part of this is a grueling downhill, and my knees were hurting every step along the outside of my knee. First it was only the right knee, and after a while, the left knee joined in. From what I have googled, it looks like maybe my IT bands were getting pinged?

    No pain on ups, level, or slight downhills, but past a certain angle going down, it kicked in every time.

    Anyone know some stretches or a way to prevent this, or do I just plan on taking anti inflammatories on hikes from now on?

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    Sounds like IT band. I had the same thing . I googled it and found some exercises to do and built my knees up. No more problems . First you will need to let your knees heal ice and rest. Then start back slowly . It took me a month. I am mid 50s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmyjam View Post
    Sounds like IT band. I had the same thing . I googled it and found some exercises to do and built my knees up. No more problems . First you will need to let your knees heal ice and rest. Then start back slowly . It took me a month. I am mid 50s.

    Sent from my SCH-S720C using Tapatalk 2
    Thanks, jimmyjam, it's hell getting old, isn't it? What's so funny is, as soon as I stop going downhill, it completely goes away...I have no residual soreness or swelling. I do have 10 days to recover, and then it's off to do Grayson Highlands. I better get some stretching going before then.

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    Do you use trekking poles? They made a world of difference for me, although some here refer to them as crutches.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Namtrag View Post
    I went on my first weekend trip of 2014, and did the AT from Sunset Fields parking area to the James River footbridge...the last part of this is a grueling downhill, and my knees were hurting every step along the outside of my knee. First it was only the right knee, and after a while, the left knee joined in. From what I have googled, it looks like maybe my IT bands were getting pinged?

    No pain on ups, level, or slight downhills, but past a certain angle going down, it kicked in every time.

    Anyone know some stretches or a way to prevent this, or do I just plan on taking anti inflammatories on hikes from now on?
    Suggest leaning on two trekking poles and slowing down on all downhills with any degree of slope and lightening your load (personal and pack).
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    Yeah, I was leaning on those hiking poles pretty hard, and it wasn't helping a lot. I had about 22 lbs as my load at the time the pain began, since we had eaten all the food I was carrying.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Namtrag View Post
    Thanks, jimmyjam, it's hell getting old, isn't it? What's so funny is, as soon as I stop going downhill, it completely goes away...I have no residual soreness or swelling. I do have 10 days to recover, and then it's off to do Grayson Highlands. I better get some stretching going before then.
    I do stretches and work with those big rubber bands and step up and down on a 3 to 5 inch stack of books. I am still 18 in my mind and that is what gets me in trouble. Lol

    Sent from my SCH-S720C using Tapatalk 2

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    Yeah, I really don't feel old until expletive deleted like this happens. It was a pretty tough downhill. We went down 1700' in about 2.5 miles.

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    Assuming it's IT band (which is very likely) also stretch your hamstrings and glutes. The IT band goes all the way from knee to butt and short, tight muscles on either end can cause problems. This is compounded for those of us who sit in a chair all day for work.

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    Your knee complaints may be completely reversible. I remember some years ago reading accounts of a doctor in the White Mountains that would see many cases of folks, who had come off the Appalachian trail, with knee pain. And for many of those sufferers she advised, "the problem is not with your knees, the problem is that your muscles, large muscles above and below the knee, and surrounding the knee, are not strong enough. I found this to be true with my knees and before I plan to hike ups and downs in mountains, I take a couple of months at a gym and strengthen the heck out of my legs with every sort of exercise available. I can travel pain free and with much more confidence that I won't twist, hyper-extend or otherwise do serious damage to my knees. Hope this helps. ---Abner

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    And ditto the trekking poles. If you have never used them you will find they take much stress off the knees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    Assuming it's IT band (which is very likely) also stretch your hamstrings and glutes. The IT band goes all the way from knee to butt and short, tight muscles on either end can cause problems. This is compounded for those of us who sit in a chair all day for work.
    Yes, and I can recall being told I have very inflexible hamstrings, and I have been sitting on my ass for about 4 months as a slave to doing taxes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abner View Post
    Your knee complaints may be completely reversible. I remember some years ago reading accounts of a doctor in the White Mountains that would see many cases of folks, who had come off the Appalachian trail, with knee pain. And for many of those sufferers she advised, "the problem is not with your knees, the problem is that your muscles, large muscles above and below the knee, and surrounding the knee, are not strong enough. I found this to be true with my knees and before I plan to hike ups and downs in mountains, I take a couple of months at a gym and strengthen the heck out of my legs with every sort of exercise available. I can travel pain free and with much more confidence that I won't twist, hyper-extend or otherwise do serious damage to my knees. Hope this helps. ---Abner
    Yeah, I was a bodybuilder for a while, but haven't hit the weights in quite some time. I used to have the strongest legs around, but probably not so much now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Abner View Post
    And ditto the trekking poles. If you have never used them you will find they take much stress off the knees.
    I am a trekking pole convert from way back!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    Assuming it's IT band (which is very likely) also stretch your hamstrings and glutes. The IT band goes all the way from knee to butt and short, tight muscles on either end can cause problems. This is compounded for those of us who sit in a chair all day for work.
    I was having all sorts of problems from lower back pain to knee pain and pain on the tops of my feet. Stretching your calves and hamstrings especially help enormously to correcting any pain in those affected areas. Still, why not go to the doctor to get checked out just to make sure everything is ok? For me, not having to worry about some supposed injury is an enormous weight off of my mind and makes me able to proceed and overcome any physical obstacles with much more confidence and much less self-doubt and insecurity.

    If at any time on the trail I fell discomfort I stretch my calves and hamstrings immediately and rest if even for one minute. This can make the difference between a mildly uncomfortable but still pleasant walk, and a death march till my next camp site. So the take home message is to see the doctor and then take it a little easier out there when going down hills and to stretch more as soon as you feel discomfort; be careful though to not over stretch the back of your knees when doing you hamstrings as this can cause more problems later on. I find downhill especially stressful as well and have benefited greatly from the above technique.

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    Hey Namtrag

    Other than the knee pain, how did you enjoy the hike? I hope you had a great time!

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    anytime you are just standing around, like in line at the supermarket, cooking dinner, peeing, whatever, balance on one leg and bend your knee ~15 deg. Don't put your arms out or anything silly looking, no one will really notice if you keep your up-leg close to the ground. Will strengthen all your random leg muscles and tendons.

    IT band can be tough, in particular for anyone who goes between cycling and backpacking.

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    What feels like knee pain, often isnt the knee at all. Its tendonitis of the muscles that are around it. This really has nothing at all to do with muscle strength, its the conditioning of the tendons to repeated stress.

    There are ITB specific stretches to do, also use the foam roller, while allowing it to heal.

    I found the best thing for my knees, is a limited amount of running. Keeps all the knee area in shape in a way that weights alone simply will not.

    Runners frequently have a different problem, too much of a good thing basically.

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    Thanks for all the great feedback. I already have been doing some stretches, and it feels good to stretch.

    HikerMom, we had a great time. Lots of great scenery in that section, especially since the trees haven't leafed out much yet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Namtrag View Post
    Yeah, I was a bodybuilder for a while, but haven't hit the weights in quite some time. I used to have the strongest legs around, but probably not so much now.
    Kind of sucks how we can't do X-amount of build up and keep it, just another way mother nature likes to keep us busy; you don't use it, you lose it -- mother nature's rule.

    Funny, as I was doing squats yesterday in the gym I was thinking of how common knee pain is, not only in the hiking community, but all around. Some people automatically think these are joint issues and recommend things to "lubricate" the joints, but I think most cases are connective tissue issues (pardon the pun)

    People also seem to think that we need to baby our knees because they take so much abuse, but the abuse is unavoidable, so I say abuse them, works for me so far and I'm only 3 years your junior.

    Another thing I was pondering yesterday is that we humans don't bend down too much any more in modern society, the most we bend our knees is to sit down and stand up and most of that time is spent sitting and when we do bend down/stand up we use supports to help us. How often do people sit down/stand up without using their arms? You want to keep them healthy, you gotta work them through their range of motion. I wonder how much our ancestors had to bend down compared to us today?

    Until science produces something better (and they will) the only thing we got is strength exercies for the muscles/connective tissue/bones.

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    My strength exercises lately are lifting grocery bags and backpacks! lol

    I think this IT band thing was mainly because this was my first backpack of the year, and it was a very steep section that kicked it off. Those knee ligaments and tendons are definitely not in shape for that yet. The problem in Va Beach is there are no hills, and I can't simulate going downhill on a treadmill unfortunately.

    Like I said before, as soon as I stopped going downhill, the issue went entirely away, and I have had not a second of discomfort in the two days following the trip.

    I do think we underuse our bodies, and particularly our connective tissues in our sedentary lives.

    One thing positive is that I always try to stand up from chairs without using my hands to support me. I also can stand up from sitting on the ground without my hands.

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    I am not sure if this plays into my issues or not, but I have noticed that I get sore hamstrings when going uphill, and hardly any soreness in my quads...seemingly the opposite of what intuitively you would think would be sore. I was the same way when I used to do a lot of squats. Always sore hamstrings, but never sore quads. Not sure what it means, but it does seem odd.

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