Usefulness of Trekking Poles?
Posted: 19 June 2007 05:30 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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As I approach middle age and after a car accident several years ago, I am starting to develop arthritis in my ankles.  I don’t want this situation to overly impact my ability to hike with my kids who are now 9 and 7 and have many years of hiking with Dad ahead of them (God willing!).

My thought is to start using trekking poles on hikes now, and reduce the burden on my ankles and other joints picking up the slack from my ankles.

Does anybody have any experience with this approach or have general insights into the efficacy of trekking poles??

Thanks to all respondents,
VS

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Posted: 20 June 2007 02:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Hi Virgil-

I think you’re spot on: the trekking poles will help you reduce stress on your knees and ankles.  This will work in conjunction with carrying the lightest gear that you can & training to strengthen your joints.  A medical opinion of your general practitioner would be in order, too.  There may be some exercises or therapy specific to your condition that the GP will be able to suggest, and/or an anti-inflammitory medication such as aspirin.

AYCE

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Posted: 20 June 2007 05:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Virgil,

I long resisted using poles but decided to try them out on a 5 day Superior Hiking Trail trip in 2006.  Ran into an ultralight packer late on day 2.  He was not using poles and asked how I liked them.  “The jury is still out” I replied.  The next day we entered the hillier part of our route and by the end of day 4 the jury returned a verdict.  I’ll be using them anytime I carry more than a day pack or anytime I’m concerned about traction.

For uphill work I find most of their value is in getting my upper body involved in the effort.  Where they really shine for me is on down hill work.  My ankles, knees and hips really appreciate the poles carrying some of the load on tall step downs.  I also feel more solid on downhill slippery spots.

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Posted: 22 June 2007 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Just jumping on the bandwagon. Overall, poles rock. The lighter and simpler, the better, so avoid anything with springs or other gee-gawhs.

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Posted: 25 June 2007 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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i started using trekking poles because back when i was 24 or so, i suffered a lot of soft-tissue damage to my knees (my first and only time skiing).  any walking that involved descending resulted in excruciating pain, but i was determined to overcome it and be able to hike again.  so i used a pair of $2 ski poles from a thrift store, and the difference was magic.  my knees eventually healed (took over two years), but the poles made hiking bearable until that happened.  so definitely give poles a try - they truly helped me, enough that i rarely use them now.  we did give our 5-year-old poles for his birthday, half because he really wanted them and half because 5-year-olds tend to trip more than adults do. ;)

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Posted: 26 June 2007 05:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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I’ve become a convert.  They’re an inconvenience at times, but they really work, and much better than a regular hiking staff (bamboo, etc.)

Mine (REI Traverse) have the springs and I like the feel better with them “on,” that is, with the springs engaged.

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Posted: 15 August 2007 02:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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The older I get (55 now) the more I use my poles. I use them for my tent, uphill and downhill, and have even used them for emergency. A few years back, I twisted my knee and used one with some duck tape to support my leg while I used the the other one to support my decent from a 9,000 ft peak. Normally I hike alone and that day there was no one else on the mountain. I never go out without them, even if it is with them tied to my pack. Mine are older aluminum type and I am getting some newer lighter Carbon ones.

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