Want to help your knees?

The best way to minimise knee trouble is to have strong muscles supporting the knees, especially the quadraceps/thighs, this will allow your muscles to take some of the load off your joints. However Trekking poles can help, below is information on trekking poles.

Trekking poles

They’ll help protect your knees, make it easier to get across streams, save you energy and generally speed you up - but only when they are adjusted to the correct length. 

Poles do have a downside: they transfer the stresses to your elbows and shoulders, keep your hands full, increase total energy expenditure, and there is evidence that they prevent novices from learning essential balance. 

Alun Richardson Training Officer for MI says "I rarely use them on simple walks, but when the going gets tough especially downhill they are invaluable".

  • Keep poles short, so that when you're standing on flat ground your hands are below your navel. There is a tendecny to make them long but that just means you lift your arms up in the air at evry step uphill. 
  • Some have a rubber grip below the handle so that, on traverses and steep ascents, you can grasp the pole lower without having to adjust it. 
  • Avoid using the hand loops (even cut them off!) because it makes it easier to jettison the poles should you slip. 
  • Don’t use the poles extended to their limits and adjust the sections equally to maintain maximum strength.
  • The advantages of shock absorbing springs are doubtful and simply increase the weight, length and cost. 
  • Poles made from 7075 aluminium alloy or carbon fibre are stronger. 
  • Leave the basket on the pole otherwise they will sink into soft mud. 
  • A flick lock, rather than a screw system is more reliable and it also enables the poles to be cut shorter to fit inside your rucksack more easily.
  • Two, three or four section poles are available - the more sections there are the shorter the pole is when collapsed, but more sections means more joints and increases the cost (and weight) of the pole.
  • Dry the poles before collapsing them, but don’t oil the tubes - the joints may never lock firmly again!
  • Placing two or more pairs of trekking poles in opposite directions behind the rucksacks of two people creates a good system for carrying an injured person off the hill
  • Wrap duct tape around your pole for emergency use.