View Poll Results: About poles: have you

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  • Always used them

    82 68.91%
  • Never used them

    14 11.76%
  • Recently started using them (Why?)

    18 15.13%
  • Recently stopped using them (Why? Any knee pain?)

    5 4.20%
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Thread: A Poll about Poles

  1. #31
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    Are you some sort of a basket case....?
    Yup! My name isn't DougPole for nothing...

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-22-2006 at 11:55 AM.

  2. #32
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil
    Alltho I make extensive use of the straps on the downhills you have to be very carefull not to snag your pole and wreck your shoulder.
    Way back in Winter School, I was taught to take my hands out of the straps for downhill trail skiing, for just this reason. I was also taught that proper use of the strap (hand from below) was less likely to result in a wrist injury than improper use of the strap (hand from above).

    The Leki snow basket (deep notches around the rim) is particularly prone to snagging in the brush. A basket with a continuous rim is probably less so.

    Doug
    Last edited by DougPaul; 12-22-2006 at 11:50 AM.

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish
    I purposely started this poll so I can inquire (using the results) at PT at 11:30 today. I'll add what I learn. I am really interested in whether the poles are a crutch, used in lieu of properly strengthening the muscles which hold the knee (cap) in place, which is apparently the cause of some (most?) knee pain...

    So, if you've stopped using poles, I would really like to here why and what the result was (must be positive else you'd have gone back, right?)

    Thanks,
    Tim
    I can’t say I never ‘used’ them because I did use them for a time (a few years ago) after reading so many posts on how important / beneficial they are. I can honestly say I had more knee trouble using them than before using them and have no knee / ankle trouble since not using them (and I am not a youth ). Poles make me walk funny . I will bring them along if it is really icy, or I may find a stick for a water crossing but for me poles are the ‘pain’.

    PS – I also feel that people have colder hands when using poles, and walking behind people with poles is sometimes scarey .

  4. #34
    Senior Member Snowflea's Avatar
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    I don't use poles 99% of the time because I like to keep my hands free--they tend to get very cold if I'm holding onto poles, no matter the thickness of my mitts. I am blessed with good, strong joints so have never really felt the need to use them. (Hopefully I can continue saying this for the next 30, 40 years!)

    Also it is my belief (experiment of one--no scientific proof) that not using poles helps maintain good balance.

    The 1% of the time I use poles? They ARE helpful in flicking fresh snow off branches!

  5. #35
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    It doesn't sound like many folks have given them up. Two people responded they had, but didn't post. Timmus started the whole question so we can include her as #3. I wasn't looking for 'the periodic pole post' -- I was looking for feedback from folks who've given them up, and to see if there was a negative correlation with knee pain.

    As promised, I'm back from PT, and her opinion was "personal choice" -- not a hiker, but she doesn't think they would really be(come) a crutch.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  6. #36
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    BTW, I purposely left out 'sometimes' in an attempt to force you into one or the other. I guess I should have said "mostly" instead of "always".

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  7. #37
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish
    I was looking for feedback from folks who've given them up, and to see if there was a negative correlation with knee pain.
    I used to use them more when my knee was worse. But I also used them more when I was enjoying some achilles tendonitis. Don't use them as much as I used to. Does it make a real difference in knee/ankle pain? Maybe.

    As promised, I'm back from PT, and her opinion was "personal choice" -- not a hiker, but she doesn't think they would really be(come) a crutch.
    Guess the only way to find out is to try them yourself. If you have adjustable ski poles, just take the snow baskets off and give them a try. And check out "Pete's Treking Poles" (the page I linked to) for a fairly complete howto. He also has some comments on knee pain.

    Doug

  8. #38
    Banned Kevin Rooney's Avatar
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    I started using poles about 10 years ago following a badly sprained ankle on Galehead. I managed to get out on my own speed using my hiking staff, but realized that should it happen again trekking poles would be much better in an emergency. Took a bit of getting used to, but have never regretted it. They have prevented many more slips and falls.

    Speaking of baskets - I use snow baskets year-round. True, sometimes they catch on the odd branch, but have found their floatation in snow, mud, sand, whatever to be more than worth the hassles.

    Sometime when I'm really flush I'm going to spring for some of those superlightweight one piece jobbers that only weigh a few ounces that the ultralight hiker types fawn over. Probably just gear lust, and they're not very sturdy, but what the hell?
    Last edited by Kevin Rooney; 12-22-2006 at 01:12 PM.

  9. #39
    Senior Member Orsonab's Avatar
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    This May Sound Obvious But...

    ...I use my poles when I think I need them which translates into: on downhill slopes in the 3 seasons; and uphill and downhill slopes in the winter. I would probably prefer not to use them at all so that my hands are free for such important things as head scratchin' and nose-pickin' but I've tripped up too many times and risked a bad sprain or break to go without them. Also, I do find that, with poles, I can really turn on the speed on the downhills (hey, I've just realised why I trip up so much...) and get back to the ankle-biters at home.

    But each to his own - the vast majority of my fellow (UK) countrymen laugh at pole-users. Unbelievers!
    Come on lads, let's get home, the sky's beginning to bruise, night must fall and we shall be forced to camp

  10. #40
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Orsonab
    I can really turn on the speed on the downhills
    Odd... For me, it's the opposite. I'm much faster (when in shape) on the downhills without poles.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  11. #41
    Senior Member Roxi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish
    It doesn't sound like many folks have given them up. Two people responded they had, but didn't post. Timmus started the whole question so we can include her as #3. I wasn't looking for 'the periodic pole post' -- I was looking for feedback from folks who've given them up, and to see if there was a negative correlation with knee pain.

    As promised, I'm back from PT, and her opinion was "personal choice" -- not a hiker, but she doesn't think they would really be(come) a crutch.

    Tim
    Tim,

    One of the reasons I don't like surveys is because the answer I would give is rarely offered as a choice. I started using poles this past summer after going up and down South Twin 4 times in two days caused severe knee pain. I used them on the next few hikes (Washington & Monroe, Starr King & Waumbek, Cabot), took them along for my hike up Jefferson, but didn't need them (knees fully recovered by then and no longer painful), and now rarely bring them along unless I think they'll be useful for stream crossings. The poles helped my knees recover from South Twin, and I'm glad I have them in case I need them again, but I don't view them as necessary on every hike. Hope this info was helpful,
    Roxi
    Nature is proof that magic still exists.

  12. #42
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    I do have poles. I regularly hike with two other guys. One of them is an uphill speed demon. The other is a downhill speed demon (like 10 minutes faster descending from Osceola). When I started using poles, I stayed with the downhill demon all the way down OBP. It was a bit icy and perhaps he took it a little slow. Neither use poles. Both have been hiking for many more years then I. One is an avid runner, who took up cycling for many year due to injuries, but is now mostly running again.

    Pete supports the position I'm looking at. Anyone else? I'll probably continue to use them, as I am 'not so graceful' and I do think they help with balance. Then again, my PT makes me do a lot of balance things to show me just how weak the stabilizing muscles are. Cycling, I think, has been a bit of a curse there.

    Tim
    Bike, Hike, Ski, Sleep. Eat, Fish, Repeat.

  13. #43
    Senior Member arghman's Avatar
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    I gotta have my pole... usually use 1 but have used 2 on occasion. I had knee problems before I started hiking in earnest & it seems (anecdotally) that when I use a pole it helps me stay w/ controlled muscle motion & that in turn stresses my knees less & helps them stay well.

    my experience is that poles are much more helpful for leverage than for support. your leg muscles are great at fighting gravity & pushing down against the ground. But then we ask them to do weird balancy things to push us sideways when the footing gets weird, or to push backwards when we're heading downhill so we don't speed up or fall down. Much easier to get the sideways/backwards leverage with a pole: same force but longer moment arm yields greater rotational torque (or for the same required torque, less force from the legs = less strain). I'm hoping this reduces some of the unhealthy peak loads from my legs.

    (of course what I just said could be a complete load of crap )
    --Jason
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  14. #44
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish
    Cycling, I think, has been a bit of a curse there.
    Yeah--Neither cycling nor weight machines do much for the stabilizers.

    Six months of mono was what weakened my leg muscles sufficiently to set me up for my chondromalacia patella.

    As for the poles, try with and without. See which is better. In either case, I recommend that the first hikes be easy with light daypacks. And don't worry about keeping up with anyone else...

    Doug

  15. #45
    Senior Member Woody's Avatar
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    I've been using poles since right after I started to hike regularly. Since I was already 40+ and had previous knee surgery they seemed like a good idea. I don't think that knee/leg strength is an issue with pole use or non-use. I am a firm believer that trekking poles help to reduce the abuse that my knees take. I take them on every hike.
    Woody

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