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Training for downhill-hiking

Briddie_DK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
West highland Way, Scotland, Aug 2016 and Aug 2017.
Camino Frances start SJPDP on Apr 9th 18
Hi Everone,

Two years ago I walked from SJPDP to Logrono, and after the first couple of days my knees were killing me.
This April I return to CF and besides taking a few pounds of my bodyweight, I am searching for exercises to strengthen my knees before going.
I live in Copenhagen which means I’v got no hilly areas nearby. The uphill training is easily done on a treadmill - but how do I train for downhill?
I have two exercises I believe might be helpful, but I would greatly appreciate any guidance on the matter.
I’m thinking to add Bulgarian split squat and squat on a bosu-ball to my daily routine.

Thanks in advance for those taking your time to educate us newbees 😊

Best,
Briddie
 

Pelen

Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF (2018 SJPdP-Logroño)
(2020 Logroño-)
Hi Briddie, I live in Norway so I have several downhills use when training. When I lived in Miami we trained uphills (and downhills) on a long hihger bridge, but I am not sure it you have some in your area.

But, I have some tips. I walked the same distance two years ago. After the first day I had pain in my knees and I started to walk like i will suggest on the rest of the downhills.

When walking downhills I am in a way"running" very slowly. Rolling on my foot and taking extremely short steps with always bent knees. No straight legs when landing. I am at work so I can not hear what he is saying, but something like this:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015, 2017, 2019) and plans for 2021 (Sept, Oct)
Briddie, my wife and I live in very flat Central Indiana. We've hiked three CF now from St Jean to Santiago. She developed severe knee pain during our first camino, which was later diagnosed as a stress fracture. Based on the advice of a trail angel, she began shipping her backpack ahead each day via Jako Trans. She's done the same throughout our second and third caminos. She walks with a day pack and has had no further problems with knee pain.

Another critical aide for both of us (age 62) is using a good set of trekking poles. We had never used these before our first camino. We rely on them to provide safety, balance and stress on our knees for rigorous uphill and downhill climbs. We're now planning our fourth CF in Sept-Oct 2020. Bob
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Currently on a "Virtual" Camino and striding out across Castile y Leon!
Use poles, check the lacing on your shoes/boots isn't too loose, zig-zag down the slope if needed.
I've walked the Camino in the company of people in their late 70s/early 80s (including a lady with two artificial hips) and the thought of a "Bulgarian split squat" would no doubt have horrified them - they just walked down the slope.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
I agree with Jeff. Learn how to walk downhill with your poles to take the weight off your joints. Wherever possible zigzag down the hill. The steeper the hill the wider the zigzag. It will add kilometers to your hike but lots of relief to your joints.
 
D

Deleted member 59555

Guest
Hi Everone,

Two years ago I walked from SJPDP to Logrono, and after the first couple of days my knees were killing me.
This April I return to CF and besides taking a few pounds of my bodyweight, I am searching for exercises to strengthen my knees before going.
I live in Copenhagen which means I’v got no hilly areas nearby. The uphill training is easily done on a treadmill - but how do I train for downhill?
I have two exercises I believe might be helpful, but I would greatly appreciate any guidance on the matter.
I’m thinking to add Bulgarian split squat and squat on a bosu-ball to my daily routine.

Thanks in advance for those taking your time to educate us newbees 😊

Best,
Briddie
Hi Everone,

Two years ago I walked from SJPDP to Logrono, and after the first couple of days my knees were killing me.
This April I return to CF and besides taking a few pounds of my bodyweight, I am searching for exercises to strengthen my knees before going.
I live in Copenhagen which means I’v got no hilly areas nearby. The uphill training is easily done on a treadmill - but how do I train for downhill?
I have two exercises I believe might be helpful, but I would greatly appreciate any guidance on the matter.
I’m thinking to add Bulgarian split squat and squat on a bosu-ball to my daily routine.

Thanks in advance for those taking your time to educate us newbees 😊

Best,
Briddie
Training for downhill. THAT'S A REALLLLLL. GOOD IDEA. Don't we all know that? Not very helpful but I just thought I would throw that in 😂
 
D

Deleted member 67185

Guest
This is a re-post of a thread I wrote a bit ago.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
The purpose of this post is not to act as a guideline to diagnose injuries or abnormalities. It is to help those new to long distance walking to appreciate the fact that feet and knees, like any other part of the body, can have normal responses of discomfort when suddenly being tasked to work at higher than normal levels of exertion.

Remember how sore you became during times that when you first started a new physical adventure? Whether starting a fitness program, physical labor in the yard, or starting a new recreational hobby like bicycle riding, chances are that by the next morning, your muscles felt sore and tender and it was a bit difficult to get moving. :)

The same holds true with feet and knees. When one first starts to do extended walking, hiking, fitness training, etc., feet can become tender and knees feel sore. If there is uphill and downhill walking, the effects can be even more pronounced.

This can sometimes cause alarm; and when it does occur, can make it difficult to gauge whether the discomfort one feels is within normal limits, or is the beginning of an injury.

Feet and knees are complicated structures and full of reasons why increases in activity takes some getting used to.

Each of your feet and ankles contain:
  • 26 bones (about 1/4 of all the bones in the body)
  • 33 joints
  • Over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
    • The tendons are a fibrous tissues that connect muscles to bones; the ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones.
Each knee has:
  • 2 main joints
  • 4 bones around the knee
  • 6 ligaments
  • tendons from 4 major muscles
  • A variety of cartilage, bursae, meniscus, and other goodies
Most of the time, it is the level of severity of symptoms which is used to differentiate normal from abnormal. For instance, the pain grows more severe or starts out as intense and sharp; or a small amount of swelling continues to rapidly increase; or there is discoloration at the site of the discomfort. But to add to the concern and confusion, it can also be normal for those brand new aches in the feet and knees to require a bit of rest for a day or so in order to help relieve the discomfort.

When I first start getting back into shape for backpacking after taking a break during late winter, I do daily hikes into steep and high foothills to the Cascade Mountains. Trails and paths may be anywhere from 8 percent to over 30 percent in grade, and elevation gain and loss can be as high as 3300 feet/1006 meters within a 2.5 to 5 hour period.

And I always seem to forget when I first start, that it takes time for my feet and knees to adjust. And they DO adjust. It just takes a bit of time.

The day after the first day hike, my knees let me know that they are sore from the sudden activity, and that they do not like what I am doing. So, after the hikes I will Ice and Rest the knees for a period of time while reading or doing stuff like this post, or even working at my consulting job. Sometimes I find it beneficial to take the recommended dosage of ibuprofen to help with tissue swelling rather than any discomfort, but the main post-exercise therapy is Ice and Rest.

For the first 7 to 10 days on my training hikes, I tend to go slower, adjust my pace and stride to minimize how hard my foot impacts the ground on downhills, and if my knees start to bark too much, I will simply stop for a little bit and give them a rest.

This also helps with the period of adjustment as my feet structures strengthen from the increased activity.

Anyway, I just wanted to provide some encouragement to those who are doing Camino for the first time that, yes, knees and feet can and do adapt, as long as everything else is equal; like good footwear and commonsense :)

Also if you do have any suspicion or concern that there might be an injury, get it checked out by a medical professional. Do not be embarrassed that your symptoms might end up NOT being an injury. . . that's why the medics get paid to do what they do, to figure that stuff out.
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2013)
......get it checked out by a medical professional.
Excellent advice. I went to a sports clinic very early in my camino training when I developed a pain in my knee on the downhills. With just a little adjustment to the way I bend my knees (which has since become second nature) and some strengthening exercise specific to my issue, the problem was cleared up in no time. I haven't had that problem since ..... hopefully, never again.
 

Briddie_DK

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
West highland Way, Scotland, Aug 2016 and Aug 2017.
Camino Frances start SJPDP on Apr 9th 18
Thank you all for taking the time to give advice - they are all duly noted, poles, zigzag, bouncing etc.

However I am still looking for exercises to strenghten the knee-joint, muscles and ligaments around it.

I ski, bike and run without knee pain, so I don’t think anything is wrong with my knees 😊

I will include some one-leg exercises and hope they hit the spot 🤞🏻
 

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