Knees, sheep and stiles

by backpackingbongos

Over the past week or so my body has been letting me down, my knees deciding to age much quicker than the rest of me.  There have been a few twinges on my walks recently, especially going downhill, but I thought that it was nothing to worry about.  However this week walking down the stairs has been a painful affair, someone sneaking broken glass under my kneecap.  Now this is bloody typical, what with a week on Rum in a fortnights time and then the TGO challenge in May.  A book I saw mentioned on Terry’s blog and a knee support have been ordered off the internet and some strengthening exercises started.  Hopefully it is just a glitch, otherwise I will go and see a physio when I get back from Rum, doctors not being the best when it comes to this sort of thing.  Last time I went to a doc due to a failing body part she told me ‘what do you expect at your age, you should not be walking in the hills’.  In my mind I told her to go on a diet and get some exercise!

Anyway I blame my recent dodgy knees on the dog.  Long walks with him inevitably mean being dragged about more than I would like, and you can’t use a pair of trekking poles when holding a lead.  Probably too much yanking and jarring, especially going down hill.

Yesterday was a chance for another hilly dog walk, a test to see if my knees where truly buggered.  After dropping Corrina off at the airport for her week in Spain we found ourselves in the Peaks.  Thankfully I managed 11 miles with some discomfort at the start but things got better as I warmed up.  Half way round I decided to trust Reuben off the lead and got my Pacerpoles out, they really did the trick, especially on the downhills.  Reuben was a very good boy, coming back when called (most of the time) and resisting the temptation of sheep.  However I was a bit hoarse at the end with a constant, ‘Rueben, stay, here, Reuben, this way etc etc etc’.  His style is leg it for 100 metres, come back when called, then repeat.  I can’t get him to actually walk with me, something to work on.  He even managed his first style without being lifted over.

Room for improvement, but he is getting there!

A write-up when I have finally finished the Dartmoor posts.

15 Comments to “Knees, sheep and stiles”

  1. Two suggestions for dodgy knees: daily doses of fish oil capsules and Bioskin knee supports.

  2. I see what’s happening here; it’s a (un)subtle build-up to getting me to carry your pack around Rum for you! Joking aside, I didn’t realise you were serious when you mentioned the ‘dodgy knees’ on the phone the other day. Robin’s advice looks sound. When you and Reuben have had more practice, you’ll probably feel happier with him off the lead most of the time in the hills. Descending is definitely much tougher on the knees and poles do make a huge difference in that regard. I sincerely hope that the knee situation improves for you.

    If it’s any consolation, I’ve got a damaged achilles and a blown head gasket!

    Looking forward to that Rum trip very much indeed.

  3. I get terrible knee pain, exactly as you describe, shards under knee cap stylee. It happens when I don’t build up to a big walk gradually. In my case its the quads, both the ‘lateral’ and ‘medial’. These are the 2 smaller ones, either side of the biggun that sits on front of yr leg, just above the knee. If the big one gets you uphill (push), these ‘ease’ you downhill (pull). My front quad (intermediate) is good due to cycling alot, but the others don’t get the same attention regularly, so they can let the side down! Its a really common thing amongst hill walkers – often its not a cartilage problem as I/we might fear, but these side quad muscles that need a workout. I reckon your idea about bumpy doggy assisted descents is prolly spot on too, and aggravating it.

    A tip that works for me is tensing and flexing exercises whilst sitting or standing for a good few days before the off, a bit like (ahem) prostate exercise. I’ve also used a very unlightweight knee support at times, but have eased off this because I had a feeling it wasn’t strengthening, just protecting. Warm ups and stretches are essential and should ideally be done before and after, especially on a multi day….I don’t always manage it tho!

  4. Had a similar problem being constantly pulled by my dog – in my case causing issues with the metatarsal bridge in my feet. For the last few months I have been using a halti – it stops the dog pulling whilst still letting her pant, drink etc. The lack of pulling means I can clip the extensible lead to my belt freeing up my hands potentially

  5. Wonder if a Skijoring harness would allow you use poles and have the dog on the leash at the same?

  6. Hi Robin, just started taking cod liver oil capsules this morning, lets see is they help over time. I got myself a knee support over the internet not got it yet so I hope that it does the trick for those long mountain descents.

    Thanks for the offer to carry my pack for me on Rum Pete, that is really nice of you! I will be fine going up those Rum Cuilins but you may have to carry me down. Really looking forward to it, this time next week we will hopefully have woken up in a remote bothy to have the day exploring the sun drenched island. With your injuries and mine it may end up being like Last of the summer wine!

    It’s painful isn’t it Dave? I have started some exercises to see if that helps and this book arrived this morning: it will be my bedtime reading.

    Hi Daylight gambler. I have just been doing some reading up on the Halti and it looks like it is worth a go. Will see if the pet supermarket stock it when I go and bulk buy his food. I don’t think that Reuben knows his own strength!

    That looks good Graham, maybe I could wear some rollerskates with it on my city walks!

    • Aaaaggghhh! Whew, that was a close one! When you say ‘this time next week…’ what you meant to say was ‘this time in a fortnight…’ I hope?

  7. Ooops yes maybe that was wishful thinking Pete!

  8. Hi.

    When consulting a GP about a recurring, very painfull knee problem he told me that my knee was wearing out. It left me with little hope but he was totally wrong because it was quite quickly and completely mended after seeking further advice.

    The knee wasn’t the problem; it was a sympton. The problem/cause was my hip/pelvis. See here

    I note that you are considering visiting a physio. My visit to a private osteopath really paid off and was very well worth the £40 consultation fee.

    Get Well Soon,


    PS. Sorry if this is a duplicate reply. The last, similar one was lost or I pressed the wrong button.

  9. Oh no, …knees…. one of mine has just stopped working completely, and, apparently brought on by a computer game..
    I can’t walk or drive at all at the moment.
    I think they’re badly designed.

  10. Let me know how the exercises go James, I think they will be your best bet as exercises sorted my lower back out (core body strength routines worked for me) I have started to get some twinges as well myself, so I am keen to see if all the above works – I hope it does.

  11. “His style is leg it for 100 metres, come back when called, then repeat.” hee hee 🙂

  12. Hi there Brian. Fingers crossed that some specific exercises will sort it out otherwise it will be off for some Physio. I was good to read that your knees got sorted out.

    Mike, what sort of computer game knackered your knees, I would love to know. Either very energetic or you were doing it all wrong. Yep they are of a very duff design, knees should be taken back to the drawing board…….

    Will do Gareth, they all look pretty simply in the book I recevied today, some stretching and Isometric exercises. Looks almost a little too easy but fingers crossed that the guy knows what he is writing about.

    It all gets a little tiring constantly reminding him that he is getting too far away Jamie, he forgets within seconds what the rules are. I may have to get him a rucksack to slow him down!

  13. James, you may remember that I posted on my blog back in September about my knee problem, sounds just like yours. I bought that knee book and the quad exercises have really helped a lot as well as going down gym, with a regime devised for me to help with my knees. Good luck 🙂

    • I do Mark and I have just revisited it. Good to see that the Quad exercises have been helping. I have been doing mine every couple of days. I sit in a chair with my leg on a chair opposite and lift it a few inches and hold for 10 seconds. 20 on each leg and you can feel it the following day! Lets hope it works.

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