protecting your knees

Hiking downhill used to really bother my knees. However, with improved mechanics, I usually descend painlessly now, but a lot slower. Especially when going downhill, I am mindful of my “heel strike”. The heel strike is the motion of the foot contacting the ground with each step taken. The lighter or softer the heel strike, the less jarring, torque or force (whatever you want to call it) gets transferred up to the knee. When going downhill, I walk like I’m on hot coals or thin ice, putting my foot down very gently. I avoid like the plague what I call “galloping downhill momentum”. There is a natural tendency to speed up on downhills to compensate for the time it took to go uphill and just because it’s easy and feels good.

Rainmaker’s Hiking Mechanics


Bodywork: Your Knees – Care and Maintenance
– Outside magazine

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