Walkers – a bit of advice….
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Walks above 15 miles on average terrain will often place enormous strain on various parts of your body, the knees especially. But let’s start from the feet upwards, typically inexperienced walkers suffer with blisters, often caused by the rubbing of skin, heat is generated and as a result blisters form.
Knee pain is often the result of either overuse placing too much strain on the ligaments and muscle groups around the knee or direct impact (smashing the knee accidently against a rock etc) Painful knees from overuse often recover after a period of inactivity.
Hip pain – is often a result of ill fitting rucksacks whereby the bulk of weight is sat on the hips and not distributed between shoulders and hips, whilst hip pain tends to be a minor irritation initially after a few miles it can become chronic and very painful.
Lower back pain, typically caused by ill fitting rucksacks and or hip bags that have too much weight in them placing a strain on the lower back that it is simply unused too.
Shoulder pain, can often be caused by ill fitting rucksacks, poor strapping, ill fitted and not worn correctly resulting in a less than favourable view of the rucksack and a miserable experience in its use.
Neck pain is usually attributed to a badly fitted bag requiring the walker to “hang” their head slightly forward, this places an undue strain on the neck muscles.
Here are a few pointers to assist…
Avoid blisters by “breaking in” or simply getting used to the boots or the walking shoes that you will use on the day – wear proper walking socks* and use a walking foot powder not talc. (*Such as Bridgedales)
To avoid knee pain, use walking poles especially going downhill, exercise sensibly and allow your body to recover after a walk – use ice on the knee if pain starts as part of your recovery process – if you experience on going pain, seek proper medical advice.
Using rucksacks and hip bags – to ensure they compliment your journey get the bag fitted correctly – correct use of the hip belt and shoulders straps, use the chest strap too and keep your load bearing equipment comfortable and close to the body.
Most soft tissue (muscle /tendon) related injuries are preventable by taking exercise, getting yourself in shape and building up your endurance and walking ability at your pace – take it nice and easy, enjoy your walking and always aim to finish a walk comfortably – remember the old maxim:
Preparation and Planning Prevent Poor Performance
Ok, now you know how to avoid the aches and pains – it is time to take some action and get out there…
Plan some short but exciting walks that won’t push you to your limits.
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