Author Topic: Knee Supports  (Read 1045 times)

myxpyr

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Knee Supports
« on: 19:20:39, 13/04/19 »
Being in my (early) seventies I'm still endeavouring to maintain my walking activities(despite a bout of Non Hodgkins Lymphoma five years ago)
I do notice, however, that downhill progress is now more tiring(on the knees mainly). I use trekking poles but have tried to avoid using knee supports as I am given to understand that they do weaken the joints. That said I wore a pair of elasticated ones(which I've had for years) today and tested them on a short easy descent this afternoon. Unless it was my imagination they did seem to help.
Just wondering if anyone else has any comments or observations about using them. Should I now succumb and accept that they are a necessity to ensure further days in the hills. I still have ambitions to visit the Alps and Pyrenees again.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
If anyone is interested please go to:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LbLgLcENvEc&t=134s

ninthace

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #1 on: 19:52:06, 13/04/19 »
I am in my late sixties and I started to have knee troubles after an unplanned 1000m descent over rocky ground in Austria in 2017 when we were caught out in bad weather.  It had been niggling for some months but this put it over the edge.  I went to see my GP who recommended rest, ibuprofen and no more walking which was patently absurd so after a month I got one of these https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B016BVC3UQ/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o03_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
It made a great difference but eventually the other knee came out in protest so I got another.  I do not wear them on every trip but I always carry them and if a knee starts to gip I put a brace on for the rest of that trip and perhaps the next.  If I think a trip is going to be particularly epic I put them on before I leave home.  The last time I wore them was to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in NZ in February this year.  With both braces on I managed it in 6hrs which would have been impossible without them and, although I felt fairly battered afterwards, the knees were good.
In my experience the following helps: 
Take time to strap them on as per instructions some time before you start walking and make sure they are really comfortable and bang on the kneecap.
Always walk with poles. 
Keep the braces on for an hour or so after to keep any swelling down. 
When you take them off, use an ice pack. https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00MV2KL5O/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #2 on: 20:01:33, 13/04/19 »
Think I might have to get braces my knees hurt after today's walk (and during descents and after every hilly walk). What do you guys think good idea for me or not? I don't want to weaken the joints if they do that like the OP says. Maybe I don't need them my knee hasn't come out. There's no way I'm using an ice pack but my knees aren't as bad as ninthace's (yet).

Bigfoot_Mike

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #3 on: 20:28:09, 13/04/19 »
Rob, I have had knee pain since my teens. I was taught a downhill technique b6 an old friend (sadly now no longer with us). He had severe knee problems, but continued walking well into his 80s. His doctor said that it was physically impossible for him to walk in the hills like he did, but he still managed it. To take pressure off the knees you walk a bit like a race walker with bent knees and loose hips.lean forward and let gravity help you down the hill. This technique looks a bit strange and takes a bit of getting used to, but is effective once learnt. It is also a fast way of descending and is good for unstable ground.  The way most people descend involves resisting gravity, leaning back and putting high forces through knees and ankles. This way reduces the forces and hence the pain. I am sure someone else here will have a name for this and can point you to a YouTube video.

harland

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #4 on: 20:28:51, 13/04/19 »
I am of similar age i.e. 70+ and use elasticated knee supports when my knees "feel weak", especially if I am going steeply downhill - the path not me!  However I also try to walk slowly and deliberately when going downhill to stop any jarring.  I also try and not keep the elastic supports on all day as if I do then my knees/legs start to ache.  I just pull them up or push them down around my ankles when required.  I don't know if I really need them but they give me confidence that my knees won't "pop out".

ninthace

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #5 on: 20:30:24, 13/04/19 »
Think I might have to get braces my knees hurt after today's walk (and during descents and after every hilly walk). What do you guys think good idea for me or not? I don't want to weaken the joints if they do that like the OP says. Maybe I don't need them my knee hasn't come out. There's no way I'm using an ice pack but my knees aren't as bad as ninthace's (yet).
   If my knee bothers me, which is rare these days, I wear the brace home then sit down with my feet up and an ice pack wrapped tightly round the affected knee until the gel has warmed up again.  It is called RICE see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RICE_(medicine)
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richardh1905

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #6 on: 21:12:16, 13/04/19 »

I've had occasional knee trouble which has necessitated the use of an elasticated support (singular) from time to time over the years, usually after doing something stupid. I've tried 2 or 3 different types, from a pricey padded Velcro number purchased in a hurry whilst working in Shetland (rather like the FinBurst product on the Amazon link above), to cheap Tubigrip tubular bandage - I find a bit of Tubigrip works just as well as the fancier product for me - and is a lot more comfortable.


...but thankfully not needed for a few years now, despite tackling some nasty descents like Hartsop Dodd!

myxpyr

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #7 on: 21:20:06, 13/04/19 »
Thanks for the useful and interesting replies. I was interested to hear about ninthace's experience with his GP. I met with a similar attitude when I suffered from ITBS. The doc said to stop walking. I thought "don't be stupid". I mentioned this to the boot expert in my nearest Cotswold Outdoors. He told me to use Superfeet insoles. That was twelve years ago - problem solved. GPs are very good at prescribing painkillers but tens to have little knowledge of what is really in the realms of sports physio. Similarly, BEFORE going to the Himalaya in 2010 I found that I knew more about high altitude medicine than he did and had to explain what I wanted Diamox for.

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #8 on: 21:46:49, 13/04/19 »
Thanks for my replies too.

Ralph

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #9 on: 10:45:09, 14/04/19 »
For the last 5 years I have been using the knee supports from Decathlon, they are branded Optonia  and have been the best that I've tried. There are a few variations, I consider the one with 2 broad Velcro straps to be the best for me, hope this helps.

Doddy

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #10 on: 12:26:47, 14/04/19 »
The knee supports don't weaken the knee; what they do is aid the knee preventing ligaments regaining their own strength as they now rely on the brace. Use the brace early on but as well to carry out knee/quadriceps exercises to help gain natural strength. Braces do keep joints warm - ligaments have less blood supply than muscles so more likely to creak. Similar ankle and wrist braces. I am not a physician.

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #11 on: 12:34:56, 14/04/19 »
The knee supports don't weaken the knee;
...
I am not a physician.

Google had this to say:

Types of Knee Braces How Much Support Do You Need? ... While doing so, the muscles and tendons that support your knee do not have to work, and therefore they may become weakened. This can limit their ability to work properly when the knee brace is not being worn, leading to further injury and functional loss in the knee

Apparently this has been reviewed by a physician (so claims the source).

So I guess wearing them while hill walking isn't going to substantially weaken but wearing them all the time would.

myxpyr

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #12 on: 13:12:39, 14/04/19 »
I say this in a lighter vein but when, on rare occasions I did wear my elasticated supports, I always felt a bit self conscious if I happened to be wearing shorts. ;D

Rob Goes Walking

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #13 on: 14:33:24, 14/04/19 »
I say this in a lighter vein but when, on rare occasions I did wear my elasticated supports, I always felt a bit self conscious if I happened to be wearing shorts. ;D

Why? Because you're protecting your knees? Not sure what there is to be self conscious about that. Still, I'm not you.

ninthace

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Re: Knee Supports
« Reply #14 on: 16:23:39, 14/04/19 »
I say this in a lighter vein but when, on rare occasions I did wear my elasticated supports, I always felt a bit self conscious if I happened to be wearing shorts. ;D


I agree - it's not a good look, the best you can do is wear something snappy looking.  I wonder if they make knee supports with go faster stripes?  It is worse it you are using a tubular support bandage- looks like you are wearing long legged knickers.  :)
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