Walk backwards - IMO, walking backwards is the most effective way protect your knees -- though it's often the least practical and most dangerous approach. Walking backwards significantly reduces the strain on the knees during the descent, probably because walking backwards allows the knee to maintain a better ergo-dynamic angle during the descent. Walking backwards also shift effort away from a tired group of muscles. When it's safe to do so, I always descend backwards.
Take small steps - When walking forwards down hill, take short steps or "baby steps" as you descend. Short steps reduce the vertical distance traveled by the leg, which seems to reduce the impact on the knee.
Zig-zag down a hill - Instead of hiking straight down a hill, follow a zig-zag or switch-back pattern as you descend. This practice can decrease the pressure on your knee joints.
Wake up your vastus medialis oblique (VMO) - The VMO is an inner quad muscle that connects with the kneecap to keep it properly oriented in the socket. Reputedly a "lazy muscle," some suggest to "wake it up" with a smack or flick. I'll try anything once :)
Use trekking poles - Using trekking poles has been shown to reduce the compressive forces on the knees by 25 percent. Use TWO poles. Using only one pole actually INCREASES the strain on the unassisted knee.
Carry less weight - Ounces matter, so carry less weight in your pack AND in your body (as in body fat). Each pound of weight adds as much as 8 pounds of downward force on your knees. So reducing your weight (pack weight or body weight) by five pounds will save your knees up to 40 pounds of pressure.
Wear properly fitting shoes with high quality insoles - Use rigid models, such as Superfeet (instead of soft or gel insoles, which quickly deteriorate).
Try glucosamine and chondroitin supplements - Glucosamine is used by the body to help build cartilage. Chondroitin sulfate is an important component of cartilage that attracts water and helps to lubricate joints. Both are made by the body, but in decreasing amounts as we age. No solid studies have been done to confirm their benefits, but "anecdotal evidence" abounds.
- AMC: AMC Outdoors - Knee-Saving Tips for Hiking
- How to Protect Your Knees When Hiking Downhill | FitSugar - Fitness, Health & Well-Being.
|Trail Trekking Pole by Black Diamond|
|Superfeet Green Trim-to Fit Insoles|