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Walking poles advice and remedies for injured knee

(15 Posts)
Jacksgrandma123 Wed 22-Jan-20 10:30:51

Have recently injured my knee and have been advised to get walking poles. Please can I have advice as to which ones are best and most comfortable to use . Also any advice for natural remedies would be so appreciated. Thank you!

trisher Wed 22-Jan-20 11:00:26

Jacksgrandma123 don't know who has given you this advice. Have you seen a physio? When I had what I thought was a bad knee and doctor thought was bad knee my physio said he thought it was torn muscle. Anyway he gave me a set of excersises to do (maintaining thigh muscles is vital) and advised me to get rid of the walking stick I was using asap. Excersises worked wonders. Along with RICE of course- Rest, Ice, Compression Elevation

Fennel Wed 22-Jan-20 11:25:01

As Trisher implies knee injuries are complex, and varied.
eg About a year ago I fell on a pavement, landed on my bottom. It's the knee on that side which has suffered most and it has affected my balance. I find a stick gets in the way, trips me up.
Make sure you have a thorough assessment.

Hetty58 Wed 22-Jan-20 11:32:33

I agree with Trisher and Fennel. Have investigations, an MRI scan and physio. My 'bad knee' was a back injury!

Elegran Wed 22-Jan-20 12:01:15

I assume that you have had all the scans etc that have been mentioned, and that the walking poles were advised by someone who knows what they are talking about?

I have NOT injured my legs, so my experience is probably irrelevant, but I do own a pair of walking poles, relatively cheap ones as they are not used much, seldom out on rough ground. I bought them as a precaution when I had sciatica a few years ago, and thought I might need them, but their main use is when the weather is awful, or the ground is icy, and I have not been out of the house. If I use the poles, I am in "exercise mode" and my hands stay through the straps for the fifteen minutes (or whatever) that I am striding from room to room, round tables and armchairs, getting in my "weighbearing exercise" Without them , I feel daft to be marching around, so I don't do it.

As you use a pair of them, what they are good at is keeping your back straight while you walk, and not letting you lean over to one side, as you do on a single walking stick, favouring one leg more than the other.

You need to use them properly - they are not the same as walking sticks.

They adjust for height, which should be so that when holding them your elbow is at 90 degrees and your forearm is parallel to the ground. You shoud always have your hands through the retaining loops so that if you let go of one, you don't have to bend right down to retrieve it, and if you are on a slope it won't sail off down the mountain without you! Put your hand through the loops from below upwards, and hold the handles. You move each one forwards while stepping with the opposite leg, like swinging your arms as you walk. Once you get the rhythm, they are very comfortable to use.

Greyduster Wed 22-Jan-20 12:12:47

I agree with the physio advice above. As for poles, it depends what sort of walking you expect to be doing. If it’s ordinary everyday, level, even ground walking, I can’t see them helping you. You will strengthen the knee better with exercises, and gentle, regular, short walks without a stick or poles. If it is country walking, yes, try them. They can take a lot of pressure off your knees on hills, especially coming down them, and act as a “third leg” when you aren’t sure of the ground.

winterwhite Wed 22-Jan-20 13:24:48

Agree with Elegran. Walking with two poles is certainly good for backache and could no harm I should think if problem is temporary knee pain. Ordinary single walking sticks come into their own if the problem is balance or to prevent falls. And the instructions to use on the opposite side from the one needing support seem counter-intuitive.

Elegran Wed 22-Jan-20 13:37:37

I think it depends on whether you are helping a bad leg or helping the spine and skeleton generally.

When you take a step forward onto a bad leg, you need extra support while you lean on it to bring the good leg forward. I suppose using that support on the same side as the bad leg means that you lean over to that side, over the stick and leg, with your spine curved to one side.

However, using support on the other side (while that good side is actually in the air moving forwards) means that your weight is central between leg and stick. The weight is shared between leg and stick, but still with the spine reasonably straight.

I have only used walking poles for general balance andto keep my back straight, so that is the only experience I have.

Jacksgrandma123 Fri 24-Jan-20 17:28:00

The consultant said to get some while it is healing, I am lurching a bit! Am also going to start physio. I do a lot of walking and swimming.

trisher Fri 24-Jan-20 17:31:03

Ask your physio. Take them with you and they will advise you on how to use them.

Jacksgrandma123 Fri 24-Jan-20 17:37:32

Thank you ladies for your wonderful advice. I have had an MRI and had some physio straight after injury which made it a hundred times worse , so I could barely walk! Now only a little sore but get some stinging in back and sore hip when walking without stick. Since using stick it is improved as I don't lurch and can move quicker and it is less tiring. I do walk on uneven terrain. Have two tears in cartilage, some fluid and damage to joint though knee in right position fortunately. Think it's a question of retaining fitness without damaging anything else whilst my gait is incorrect due to stiffness (which physio will help). The advice is good on how to use poles as I have no idea and looks like I have been using stick on the wrong side! Coordination is not my strong point!!

janeainsworth Fri 24-Jan-20 17:38:02

The point about two poles as opposed to one is that you are much better balanced and most of the time you have 3-point contact with the ground, which is much more stable than two-point.

I use them for country walks & have found them invaluable. I think because I’m more confident with them, I actually walk with more power than without them and that is good for building up muscle strength.

As Elegran says it’s important to use them properly with your hands through the loops. Mine have ergonomically designed handles which makes them very comfortable to hold. They are in 3 sections (2 points of adjustment) so it’s easy to get them at the right height.

I got mine at the Mountain Shop in Newcastle and the staff were very helpful showing me how to use them.

Hope that helps.

Jacksgrandma123 Fri 24-Jan-20 17:38:41

Thanks Trisher, I will do that!

Jacksgrandma123 Fri 24-Jan-20 17:43:44

Thanks janeainsworth. Someone else has told me to get some like this but not to put hands through straps as if you trip you can go flat on your face! My hand is sore from using stick on walk today, but still so much better than without!

Elegran Fri 24-Jan-20 19:27:30

But you are less likely to trip with two stick support contacts and one foot on the ground, while the second foot is in the air! If you do go over, you can let go - the loops are round the backs of your wrists, and your hands can still save you landing on your face. I think you should raise the point with whoever sells you the poles.