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For the techies out there...walking sticks

Discussion in 'Equipment Questions' started by adesmar123, Sep 11, 2011.

  1. adesmar123

    adesmar123 New Member

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    Does the use of walking sticks or poles have a physiological purpose? Do any laws of physics apply to the use of walking sticks or poles?

    Buen Camino

    Alan

  2. newfydog

    newfydog Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    I have horrible ankles. I'm not sure about the physics behind it, but I don't sprain them when I walk with poles.

  3. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Hi, Alan,

    I am definitely not a techie, but I do use walking sticks, and have since my first Camino in 2000. I take it that your question about "physiological" purpose means something other than just finding them to be a godsend when navigating thick mud, or through water, or up or down steep and/or slippery slopes. In addition, my sports medicine doctor told me that walking sticks take some of the weight load off the knees upon impact. And since our weight load is increased by the weight of our backpacks, that for me was good enough reason to use them. I tend to use them on flat land as well as on hills, but for me it's just now part of the walking rhythm. The first time I walked, I used just one stick, but since then I've used a pair. And the numbers of people using them have increased tremendously as well. In 2000, we saw virtually no one with a pair of sticks, now they're all the rage among my demographic. :)

  4. methodist.pilgrim.98

    methodist.pilgrim.98 R.I.P 2013

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    I have not fallen down a very steep hillside because my walking stick saved me.

    There are sites on the Internet which tell you how to use them properly, though I am self-taught.

    Going up hills. If you lean slightly forward on your sticks and move them over short distances your arm muscles are taking a great deal of the weight of your upper body, perhaps as much as one third.

    When I was well, hills were a challenge. Now they are a major obstacle, but with two sticks to lean on I find I can cope quite well and make good time up the hills.

    You might have to practice a little with them to find what works best for you, but they will repay you tremendously.

  5. Sansthing

    Sansthing Member

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    I used a staff on my first Camino and Pacer poles on the second. The improvement was quite noticeable and I would happily recommend them to anyone. If you visit their site there is a good explanation of how they work.
    Sandra :arrow:

  6. alipilgrim

    alipilgrim New Member

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    I must admit, I was quite proud at how 'fit' my arms got after using my poles for 28 days! Nice to get more of an all-body workout!!

  7. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    I used a locally-bought walking stick my first Camino and Pacer Poles my second Camino.
    I liked both.
    Each had their positives and negatives.
    I haven't decided which way I'll go next time around.

  8. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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  9. dougfitz

    dougfitz Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Yes and yes.
    Physiological - reduce weight on lower joints - hips, knees, ankles depending on how much you can push down, toning of upper body, improved stability so less likelihood of lower limb injury, etc.

    Physics - the closer the pole is to the vertical, the more any force on the pole reduces the weight borne by the lower body. As the angle increases, the more the force translates to propulsion. The balance between weight reduction and propulsion is governed by the length of your pole, which affects the angle at which it strikes the ground.

    All this relies on generating sufficient force to make a difference. Technical poles are easier to do this with than plain wooden poles without straps. Poles used badly will make little difference; those used well can be an enormous benefit.

    Regards,

  10. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    A woman in her seventies did a face plant and is in surgery today in Santiago. She was plucky enough to walk two days to finish (against medical advice). She would have been OK with trekking poles!

  11. adesmar123

    adesmar123 New Member

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    Thanks dougfitz!

    That's exactly the type of info I was seeking....

    Many thanks and

    Buen Camino!

  12. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Active Member Donating Member

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  13. dougfitz

    dougfitz Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    lynnejohn, thanks for the links to these video clips.
    The second of these is one of the best that I have seen to date, almost justifying the hyperbole at the start. The first is good, but doesn't demonstrate the correct use of the strap, which is a pity.

    Regards

  14. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Active Member Donating Member

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    Well there's this one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzYJAw_NvG0

    Let me just add that I'm no expert on poles. I was clueless until I looked up these videos and practiced in front of the mirror until I felt comfortable with the proper way to use them - that was three caminos ago.

  15. dougfitz

    dougfitz Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    That's a really great explanation that gets right to the point. Thx again.

  16. jl

    jl Member

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    Unless you are using Pacer Poles, which are used in a different way to Nordic poles. Cheers, Janet

  17. Anniesantiago

    Anniesantiago Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    Janet, in what way are pacer poles used differently?
    By the way, did it bug anyone to see the way the big Netherlander used his poles in The Way? :lol:

  18. dougfitz

    dougfitz Well-Known Member Donating Member

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    The description applies to all poles, Nordic, trekking, Pacer. It about the physics, which doesn't change! The force is transmitted along the axis of the pole, and as pole angle increases, so does the horizontal component.

    Pacer poles might change how the pole is used to generate that force, but not the way the force is translated into lift and propulsion.

    Nordic poles are at a greater angle, giving greater propulsion, trekking poles normally near the vertical, giving greater lift.

    Regards,

  19. falcon269

    falcon269 No commercial interests Donating Member

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    I just watched "The Way" on the flight home from Madrid on Aer Lingus to Dulles, and I liked it much more than I expected to.

    Except for the Dutch man's use of trekking poles.

    Expect 10,000 U.S. Pilgrims next year.

  20. lynnejohn

    lynnejohn Active Member Donating Member

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    Indeed. That's the (selfish) reason I don't talk about "The Way" to folks.

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