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Dodgy knee

MartinBryant

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None so far. Hoping to walk Camino Frances in September 2020
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Knee braces can be very helpful when hiking on bad knees, even if you might be able to get by with what you have now in "normal" life.

One thing I would suggest though is getting a pair of them -- on hikes having only one can imbalance your gait, leading to secondary or tertiary complications.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Hi Martin - I have a very messed up knee (took a motorcycle over the top of a Pontiac back in '68, broke both me and the bike).

Ordinary tubular and cheap knee sleeves help in that they hold everything 'in', which reduces movement, and that is all they do (and not very well) - but the brace I use is pretty wonderful!

Made in America by McDavid (but sold in the UK) - has aeroplane grade aluminium hinges either side, which forces (gently) the knee joint to only track forwards and backwards, and it is the swivelling, especially on rough ground, that really hurts a poor knee (and eventually all good ones too).
Added to that it has compression straps .. once put on properly it helps stopping the top bones compressing down onto the bottom bones - all in all, a brilliant support.

Now - this isn't a cure - it is merely a support but over the last fifty years I have tried many and find this one supremely effective - get the right size now, not loose and not too tight - and don't forget, only wear a brace when you need it, take it off when you stop walking ... otherwise the support will allow the muscles to get soft, and you don't want that. In hot weather soapy wash your skin regularly and you will never get a rash.

Here the one I wear, the 429X - https://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Support-Polycentric-Hinges-Straps/dp/B00MGQRNA6
Cheap? No. Worth every penny? Yes!

429X-MD-Black.png
 

tomnorth

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: September 24 - October 31 (2015)
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
This is the brace I use on my left knee. I have a torn meniscus on that knee. This brace helps quite a bit. I can't tell you whether it's better than what you have.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
Hi Martin - I have a very messed up knee (took a motorcycle over the top of a Pontiac back in '68, broke both me and the bike).

Ordinary tubular and cheap knee sleeves help in that they hold everything 'in', which reduces movement, and that is all they do (and not very well) - but the brace I use is pretty wonderful!

Made in America by McDavid (but sold in the UK) - has aeroplane grade aluminium hinges either side, which forces (gently) the knee joint to only track forwards and backwards, and it is the swivelling, especially on rough ground, that really hurts a poor knee (and eventually all good ones too).
Added to that it has compression straps .. once put on properly it helps stopping the top bones compressing down onto the bottom bones - all in all, a brilliant support.

Now - this isn't a cure - it is merely a support but over the last fifty years I have tried many and find this one supremely effective - get the right size now, not loose and not too tight - and don't forget, only wear a brace when you need it, take it off when you stop walking ... otherwise the support will allow the muscles to get soft, and you don't want that. In hot weather soapy wash your skin regularly and you will never get a rash.

Here the one I wear, the 429X - https://www.amazon.co.uk/David-Support-Polycentric-Hinges-Straps/dp/B00MGQRNA6
Cheap? No. Worth every penny? Yes!

View attachment 76248
That looks great @David Like @tomnorth I have a torn meniscus from my last Camino so this might be what I need! It's the twisting motion that hurts!
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
@tomnorth - yes, a woven tubular, does offer some support by keeping things 'in' - helps with soft or 'over-elastic from over-stretched' ligaments by stopping them a bit from flexing, but doesn't help with alignment, nor keeping the knee joint from compressing together (meniscus is sort of the jam in the bone sandwich).

@Robo - exactly so, it is the swivelling under weight stress that causes an increase in the problem - and surprises the poor pilgrim with a supposedly healthy knee that suddenly 'goes' - tends to be often on rough ground on descents too! It is SO painful - and has ended many a pilgrimage.

The main thing about my McDavid (rather than their other designs) is the hinges .. they work so well and really make the knee track, as well as the straps that hold all together.
 

Papi7411

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
Hi Martin. here is my opinion about a torn meniscus. A meniscus itself will not be able to heal on its own. In 2008, I had arthroscopic surgery to trim a torn meniscus which caused severe sharp pain. I was 63 at the time. I had been a runner for over 25 years but age and all that pounding will have eventual consequences on your joints.

Immediately following the in office surgery, I walked out of the clinic unaided.

I do not believe in using compression sleeves but believe in physical therapy and gradual rehabilitation. Every thing in moderation.

In 2016, I completed the Camino without aid of compression sleeves or walking sticks because, in my case, they were not desirable.but a super pair of well fitting shoes were essential as well serious and balanced training for distance and terrain.

my surgery was so successful that I often forget which knee needed the surgery.

Buena Suerte Peregrino
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
Hi Martin - I have pretty 'good' osteoarthritis in my knee (medial compartment) and can't walk longer distances any longer without my brace. It was custom fit by an Orthotist and is a specialized 'offloading' brace (something pretty similar to below). Wonderful design that changes the amount of offload (transferring weight from medial to lateral) based on the flex of my knee. So when my knee is bent there is no offload but when my leg is fully straightened it has its full offloading in effect. The brace is adjustable so I can increase the load if I choose. It also has a stop in it to make it virtually impossible to hyper-extend my knee, another issue with the arthritis I was having. Wearing this lets me walk many kms now and hoping it will carry me through for many more years until I degrade enough to warrant a shiny new knee!
1591140697654.png
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2022)
@tomnorth - yes, a woven tubular, does offer some support by keeping things 'in' - helps with soft or 'over-elastic from over-stretched' ligaments by stopping them a bit from flexing, but doesn't help with alignment, nor keeping the knee joint from compressing together (meniscus is sort of the jam in the bone sandwich).

@Robo - exactly so, it is the swivelling under weight stress that causes an increase in the problem - and surprises the poor pilgrim with a supposedly healthy knee that suddenly 'goes' - tends to be often on rough ground on descents too! It is SO painful - and has ended many a pilgrimage.

The main thing about my McDavid (rather than their other designs) is the hinges .. they work so well and really make the knee track, as well as the straps that hold all together.
Sounds good. Indeed it was on a steep decent......
As I twisted to look back, for the 10,000 th time to check on Pat a few metres back up the trail.....
SNAP. Ouch!!!
I had no idea what it was at the time.
But surprisingly, with my normal diet of painkillers and anti inflammatories (for other injuries), we still made it over the last 130 kms... though slowly.
It hurt more when we finished!

With that knee brace and losing 10-15 kg I should be good to go for the next one :)
 
Last edited:

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Surgery on a torn minscus, as Papi711 pointed out, can do wonders, total repair - so let us remember that a knee brace or sleeve (I love Jozero's brace - same design idea but with much more air to the body) is a support, not a cure ... that is what we have doctors for. ;) - though many knee problems are not 'curable' .. too much wear, arthritus, or like me, ripped open and put back together again.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
I have had problems with both my knees for years due to falls, had cartilage surgery on both now I get an injection of cortisone from a reputable orthopedic surgeon, and manage to do the Camino this year would have been my twelfth Camino.
 

nathanael

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Plata,
Hi Martin. here is my opinion about a torn meniscus. A meniscus itself will not be able to heal on its own. In 2008, I had arthroscopic surgery to trim a torn meniscus which caused severe sharp pain. I was 63 at the time. I had been a runner for over 25 years but age and all that pounding will have eventual consequences on your joints.

Immediately following the in office surgery, I walked out of the clinic unaided.

I do not believe in using compression sleeves but believe in physical therapy and gradual rehabilitation. Every thing in moderation.

In 2016, I completed the Camino without aid of compression sleeves or walking sticks because, in my case, they were not desirable.but a super pair of well fitting shoes were essential as well serious and balanced training for distance and terrain.

my surgery was so successful that I often forget which knee needed the surgery.

Buena Suerte Peregrino
some orthopedic specialists do not recommend total knee surgery mine will not do it because I have arthritis in both now. but cortisone helps me along with this cream I buy in Spain called Radio salil they usually keep it behind the counter.
 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016;CP (Central) Porto-SdC 2017;CP (Coastal) Porto-SdC 2018;CF Leon-SdC 2019
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
They work for me, for sure. I played netball for years (one of the worst sports in the world for knees) and had a knee reconstruction after I tore my left ACL and MCL. Also spinal fusion surgery a few years later.

My knees really struggled on my first Camino but have gotten better with each subsequent one. I started out using rock tape which worked well but then I wanted something less fiddly and more sustainable so tried a knee strap and it's fab! Provides stability and support, easy to take on and off and not sweaty.

 

katie@camino

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF, SJPDP-Finisterre 2016;CP (Central) Porto-SdC 2017;CP (Coastal) Porto-SdC 2018;CF Leon-SdC 2019
Hi Martin. here is my opinion about a torn meniscus. A meniscus itself will not be able to heal on its own. In 2008, I had arthroscopic surgery to trim a torn meniscus which caused severe sharp pain. I was 63 at the time. I had been a runner for over 25 years but age and all that pounding will have eventual consequences on your joints.

Immediately following the in office surgery, I walked out of the clinic unaided.

I do not believe in using compression sleeves but believe in physical therapy and gradual rehabilitation. Every thing in moderation.

In 2016, I completed the Camino without aid of compression sleeves or walking sticks because, in my case, they were not desirable.but a super pair of well fitting shoes were essential as well serious and balanced training for distance and terrain.

my surgery was so successful that I often forget which knee needed the surgery.

Buena Suerte Peregrino
I agree, shoes made a huge difference to me. The ones my knees preferred were Altra Timps or Altra Lone Peaks. I think the zero-drop were what helped.
 

jozero

Been there, going again...
Camino(s) past & future
CF x 3
I agree, shoes made a huge difference to me. The ones my knees preferred were Altra Timps or Altra Lone Peaks. I think the zero-drop were what helped.
I agree. I switched to the Timp 1.5 (while also adopting a move conservative style of walking that doesn’t allow my knee to get too far out in front of me) and have noticed a difference too.
 

Bobthebome

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Portuguese (future - 2018) from Porto
After many years of pain and discomfort in my left knee (bone on bone) I finally bit the bullet and had the surgery to do a full knee replacement last summer. After a year, I'm ready to walk the Camino. Still feels a bit weird, but the pain is no more. Prior to the surgery I tried lots of supports, braces, etc. and found the thing that helped the most when hiking was a simple jumpers brace tight under the patella. About $10.
 

Chris Gi

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Did April through June 2018 from Pamplona to Santiago.
2020 May or end of September - NO!
2021 ?
I had bi-lateral knee surgery last year and that ended my constant search for braces, wraps, K tape, pain killers etc. etc. Now at 80 I feel really ready for my next Camino - sadly to have been September of this year - hopefully next. Now if the rest of me was as good as my new knees - I would be in great shape.
 

WhiteLotus

New Member
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
I have arthritis in both my knees for several years and someone recommended the Cho-Pat knee braces so I purchased 2 of them and the best thing I’ve ever purchased as I didn’t like the larger braces but these give so much support that I can still go out for a walk with them on when I have a flare up to where I would otherwise be limping without them. Got mine on Amazon but they don’t come in a pack of 2 so you have to order 2 to balance out your support. “Cho-Pat Dual Action Knee Strap – Provides Full Mobility & Pain Relief For Weakened Knees”
 

Attachments

Sixwheeler

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
I too have a dodgy left knee. Morris dancing and mountaineering did for me and a couple of years ago I was scheduled for a full knee replacement. As there were long waiting lists in the UK for "non-essential" surgery my surgeon spoke the magic words "In the meantime I'm going to refer you to our specialist knee physiotherapist" which changed everything.

Specialist knee physio are as rare as hen's teeth, but we have one in our local hospital; I won't bore you with the detail but six months later I was taken off the waiting list for surgery. It was hard work but it paid off and one thing I learned is that tubular bandages provide little more than a feel good feeling. One day I will need surgery but with the state of things here that could well never happen.

My real point is that we all have our ideas and solutions of what works for us but please get some qualified and professional opinions, preferably from a physiotherapist.

Good Luck.
 

MarkyD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés 31/08/2018 - 20/10/2018
I have had a dodgy left knee for over 20 years (I blame it on seven years of karate when I was younger, I'm nearly 62 now) and so when I walk any distance I wear a simple, cheap tubular bandage on that knee which I feel helps relieve the pain and support the joint.
I have seen several commercial knee support products available online... 'knee support brace', 'compression sleeve' etc... but am skeptical that they would be any better. Does anybody use these products? And if so, what do they think of them? Are they worth the extra money?
Hi Martin, have you had the knee scanned to see what is the damage? I say this because I had a similar experience, also with a background in martial arts. I used to wear different knee supports like you mention. I would just get used to putting up with occasional pains, try various physiotherapy treatments which helped temporarily. However, eventually I had a sudden click in the knee one day while running up some stairs, from then things got more serious. So eventually I went to the doctors who first examined me and then proceeded with X-Ray check first, all was ok. Then they sent me for a magentic resonance scan which came back with results that clearly indentified signinificant interior meniscus damage. I was then referred to key hole surgery, which was done successfully. (All of this happened while living and working in Madrid).
The surgeon came to see me after the operation and told me that they had cleaned it up but had to remove a fair bit of it that was beyond repair. He asked me how come I had left it so long before getting it properly checked out! Needless to say, I felt very sheepish at that moment.
It took about 4 years after the operation to really get back full mobility and strength of the damaged knee, which could have been avoided if I had gone to doctors much earlier, when I first noticed the pain was recurring.
 

MartinBryant

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None so far. Hoping to walk Camino Frances in September 2020
Thank you for all the interesting and detailed replies!

I must admit that until now I have just 'put up with it' but reading some of your stories I guess I should seek medical advice.

I'm also aware that the tubular bandage may be giving me nothing more than a placebo effect.

There seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence for more serious supports (with the Rolls Royce version mentioned by @David being a very impressive piece of equipment) so I think I might be investing in some new kit soon!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2020 (Sept, Oct)
I second the strong recommendation for the Cho Pat Knee strap. Several years ago I had surgical repair of right knee torn miniscus. I ordered a set of ChoPat knee straps and have worn on all three caminos - 800 kms each time. Worked great. The first camino I developed ankle strain so bought a cho pat ankle brace and it also worked well. I will bring these with me on all future caminos. Bob
 

ken2116

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Someday. But have hiked the Sierra and the Pyrenees.
Every knee is different - my problem is thinned and cracked cartilage at the ends of the bones, secondary to meniscus damage. For ~ 10 years I've been getting near total relief from Synvisc injections (3 injections of 2mi. a week apart, repeated every 6-12 mo.) which has made the difference between dreading walking across the office to being able to knock off rugged 9 day trips in the Sierra. Some develop an intolerance to a component of Synvisc, which is made from chicken cartilage, but there are alternatives grown from cellular cultures without this problem (Orthovisc is one).
 

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