View Poll Results: About poles: have you

Voters
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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. #46
    Moderator bikehikeskifish's Avatar
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    The PT said to plan something easy for after the new year. Easy like West Rattlesnake easy. Meanwhile, flat 'hikes' are all I'm allowed. I walked for 1 hour along the Merrimack River this afternoon with nearly zero trace of any knee symptoms. The clicking is slightly less obnoxious.

    As for machines versus free weights -- the latter are much better at teaching you balance. Two plates + olympic bar (=135 pounds) is much easier on a Smith Machine then free. It's because you don't have to use any muscles to keep the bar from rocking forward or backward. Free weights are much easier to hurt yourself with, and the added benefit doesn't outweigh the risks for the casual / recreational lifter. I've done both, and at this time in my life, I'm mainly trying to main some core body strength, and so I do the machines rather then free. I do concentrate on multi-joint exercises, rather the 'boutique muscle' isolation exercises.

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

  2. #47
    Senior Member timmus's Avatar
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    Ok, very sorry for the late reply, it's Christmas time after all.


    Last year the poles were essential while hiking the ADK46. I remember coming down Haystack on my *ss because of striking pain in my knees. I was using my poles with the straps (the right way), putting enough weight on them while going downhill that my triceps were getting sore as much as my legs the day after.

    Recently I did mostly bushwhacks, and hiking poles are just plain annoying in the woods, so I left them in the car more and more, until I realized that my knees were doing fine.

    My quads got much stronger in the past year, and I think that gives a break to the knees. And I notice that when I hike downhill with a slower partner, my knees hurt the day after. I believe a tension is created while taking too much time deciding where we to put the foot, and that adds a stress to the knee. Now, I'm not a specialist, I may be full of crap. This is just how it is for me, and I'm surely not a reference (I sometimes wear cotton and wool over polypro and fleece, just to give you an idea).

    I also really like to put my hands in my pockets. I like holding on the trees and rocks and not having the pole in the way. And I like the fact that I can eat while I walk. That's very cool. I just miss them on the crossings.

    Bubba, you are probably right, it's gonna come back to me one day. For now I enjoy the freedom

  3. #48
    Senior Member una_dogger's Avatar
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    I was using a single hiking staff for years but just switched to poles. For me it was that I finally had the extra $$ for poles.

    I love 'em. They really get my heart rate up and I love the work out I get with them.
    ADK 46'r NE115'r NEHH NH 48 x 6 NH48W NH 331/576
    Terra NH 48 x 6+ ~93/100 NEHH ~ ADK 35/46 ~RIP~
    Pemi NH4K~ Gem NH4K

  4. #49
    Senior Member Bobby's Avatar
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    I resisted pole use for years, then two knee operations from my teens came to haunt me. I find that when I use my poles, especially coming down, there is little or no pain. Without the poles, I can count on stiff-knee walking for a few days. I do believe that the pounding our knees and hips get here in the Northeast does have a long-term effect on the joints. By using hiking poles I think we can limit the damage.

    I agree that building muscle around the knees helps. Free weight squats are are great for muscle and balance building. Another exercise I use it to grab a dumbbell in each hand, then do walking lunges. It hits the quads and hamstrings, and is also another great balance builder.
    "Don't try to strike everybody out. Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic." Crash Davis -"Bull Durham"

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  5. #50
    Senior Member pks4000's Avatar
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    Poles/knees and the ups and downs

    In the wild God made quadipeds . Start with that.
    I have been hiking /climbing on level 5 arthritic, "batterred knees" (My orthopedic doctor's term) since 1980. There are various degrees of knee problems.
    Here's 3:
    1. Mild pain from past trauma or arthritis with little or no cartilage or ligament damage.

    Use the poles to keep you balanced so you dont have to recover from a slip. Also can slow the overuse of the joint on the downhill by taking weight off your knees and putting some on your poles.

    2. Moderate pain with some damage to the stability of your knee joint.
    You'll know if your at this level because you'll carry I's (Ibrupropin)

    3. Moderate to severe knee pain with severely compromised cartelidge and littlle or no fore aft stability from one or 2 damaged ACL s.
    You must have poles for the downhill to absorb weight to take the load of your knee joint

    For what it's worth I'm at level 3 and went thru the overuse/trauma progression of steps 1 and 2.
    If your knees are truly bad you will not be able to recover from a mistep and will have to go with the fall... a crummy alternative I face on every descent.
    IMHO An even crummier alternative is to give into the pain and sit at home.

    I know this is more than you need to know but poles also have many other uses in the wild limited only by your creativity.
    Let it snow
    Climbing Stallion/BMT
    Climbing Stallion/BMT

    Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village tho. Would He not mind If I climb on, to watch His woods fill up with snow? R. Frost (paraphrased)undefined

  6. #51
    Senior Member pks4000's Avatar
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    Evo of trekking poles

    Thought Id mention that I started using poles while hiking in 1968 as a ski race training aid during off season.
    They caused some iteresting comments for about 15 years then slowly folks started seeing the benefits and there were ski poles on the trail.
    I dont know if I started this whole hiking poles thing but I know I was the only hiker/ skier we saw doing it for years in Northern NE

    Then they came out with Trekking poles with smaller baskets for summer use. The only thing I liked about them was they collapsed and could be strapped to my pack for steeper wointer pitches.

    Then shock absorption was incorporated on "trekking poles"
    It had been used in ski poles for years but was in the grip which was spring loaded and moved slightly up and down when you planted your poles on frozen granular

    Then the Positive angle grip came out on Lekis and we (The BMTs)all went out and upgraded to the new very efficient technology.
    Let it snow
    Climbing Stallion/BMT

    Whose woods these are, I think I know. His house is in the village tho. Would He not mind If I climb on, to watch His woods fill up with snow? R. Frost (paraphrased)undefined

  7. #52
    Senior Member forestgnome's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete_Hickey
    I found myself depending on it for balance. Stepping on a slippery log, and loosing my balance, I'd INSTINCTIVELY plant the pole to maintain my balance, instead of bending knees, shifting weight, etc. I did not like depending on the pole.
    I also don't get the idea of using poles for balance, when walking is such a natural act, although I only hike with a large day-pack and never a huge backpack. The only time I fall is when my footing slips, and during the one summer that I used poles, it was scary to fall with poles in my hands. I prefer to let my arms swing naturally and I like free hands.

    I had sore knees for a while so I tried poles, and I thought they helped on steep downhills, but otherwise a nuisance. Once I quit using the leg-extension machine at the gym, the problem went away and I ditched the poles.

    When bushwhacking, poles are absolutely useless to me, just a hindrance. I like to use the trees anyway.

    Father Time will eventually visit my knees and then the poles will come down from the attic.

    Happy Trails

  8. #53
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    Walking is a natural act, but the ground we are walking on is uneven, making slips and trips more prevalent. They have saved me from more than one nasty fall, which would have truly hurt, and I won't leave home without them.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.




  9. #54
    Senior Member timmus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Sale
    Walking is a natural act, but the ground we are walking on is uneven, making slips and trips more prevalent. They have saved me from more than one nasty fall, which would have truly hurt, and I won't leave home without them.
    Funny you say that... I also always think we are perfectly made for walking (we definitely get less tired from walking than standing), and since paving is kinda new for humanity, it seems to me that uneven ground, rocks and blowdowns should not be a big issue...

  10. #55
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timmus
    Funny you say that... I also always think we are perfectly made for walking (we definitely get less tired from walking than standing), and since paving is kinda new for humanity, it seems to me that uneven ground, rocks and blowdowns should not be a big issue...
    Remember too that we developed walking barefoot and without pavement and cars to help us decondition.

    Doug

  11. #56
    Senior Member dentonfabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikehikeskifish
    As for machines versus free weights -- the latter are much better at teaching you balance. Two plates + olympic bar (=135 pounds) is much easier on a Smith Machine then free.
    Tim
    This is absolutely true. And to carry it a step further, using dumbbells are more effective than barbells. Your muscles must work harder to stabilize the dumbbells.

    I love my poles. I never hike without 'em. I'm surprised at the number of people who, like me, dont use the straps.


    bob

  12. #57
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    Remember too that we developed walking barefoot and without pavement and cars to help us decondition.

    Doug
    True, but most people don't walk barefoot today, nor do we walk on uneven ground in today's society.

    If we did it all the time then we'd be better conditioned, but we've let ourselves become a society of advancements rather than staying true to our origins. I'm not saying I want to live in a wilderness hut just to walk on uneven ground, but I think the point is made.

    Sort of like acclimatizing, once you become deconditioned, you need to recondition or seek the help of an external aide (oxygen in the case of acclimatizing, or poles in the case of hiking). Sure, some don't need them, but it makes my hikes more enjoyable, which is why I use them.
    Last edited by Lawn Sale; 12-23-2006 at 11:30 AM.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.




  13. #58
    Senior Member DougPaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    Remember too that we developed walking barefoot and without pavement and cars to help us decondition.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lawn Sale
    True, but most people don't walk barefoot today, nor do we walk on uneven ground in today's society.

    If we did it all the time then we'd be better conditioned, but we've let ourselves become a society of advancements rather than staying true to our origins. I'm not saying I want to live in a wilderness hut just to walk on uneven ground, but I think the point is made.

    Sort of like acclimatizing, once you become deconditioned, you need to recondition or seek the help of an external aide (oxygen in the case of acclimatizing, or poles in the case of hiking). Sure, some don't need them, but it makes my hikes more enjoyable, which is why I use them.
    All I was saying (or hinting) was that since we now use our feet and legs somewhat differently than when they were developed, external aids (eg poles) might be helpful.

    But of course, pre-historical man might have used walking sticks too...

    Doug

  14. #59
    Senior Member Pete_Hickey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DougPaul
    Remember too that we developed walking barefoot ....
    And some of us haven't developed much further.

    BoT: I never use poles when hiking barefoot. Not only does it seem weird (barefoot really keeps one balanced), but I'd be afraid of stabbing a foot with a pole.
    There's no place like 127.0.0.1

  15. #60
    Senior Member Lawn Sale's Avatar
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    That's a great point! How do we know prehistoric man didn't use walking poles? After all, the poles would decay and blend with their natural surroundings, looking just just another piece of wood. Unless, that is, we could find the odd flicklocks and carbon tips!

    All joking aside, the original question was, "Which is the cure and which is the disease? Did my sudden use of poles make my knees weaker / lazier? If I didn't use them, would I be better off?".

    I guess my answer would be to use what works for you as I dont think there is difinitive proof either way, only subjecture. A like example is I need my glasses to see, I'm blind without them (legally). So, wearing them keeps me from bumping into everything in sight and allows me the luxury of doing things I wouldn't be able to otherwise. Sure, I could have the laser surgery (which I am contemplating), or use contacts (akin to glasses), or try to strengthen them through one of the programs available. But, out of these options, which works best for me at the current moment?

    For my current hiking I'll keep using the poles, maybe sometime in the future I won't use them, but I enjoy the sense of security they bring, even if it is debatable.

    Remember, hike your own hike and find what works for you, it's really the best way.
    Appearances are not everything, it just looks like they are.




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