Hi does anyone have any recommendation of walking poles as i have damaged the ligaments in my knee and now need a set?
I would never have forked out for a pair of Pacer Poles until I'd used a pair. Now I'd happily pay the price - really excellent. And help me with my knees which have been a serious problem in the past.
But, not everyone gets on with them, poles are quite a personal thing!
step 1, go and see someone who knows about knees and follow up suggestions. It's not that poles are a Bad Idea, but if you can get things more better at source that's better, and stronger knees and poles are better than wekaer knees and poles. Having had some knee trouble lately I went to see a physio earlier this week and I've a set of exercises which will hopefully improve matters a lot (in my case an imbalance in my right quad muscles with the inner not as strong as the outer).
Beyond that, poles are sticks, and aren't Rocket Science. You don't need to spend a fortune, but if you spend more than the minimum you may get useful features. Some poles are stronger than others, which is handy if you're particularly large (or in my case, you use them for skiing too). Some are lighter, which is an obvious benefit, and some have more money spent on grips and/or straps: the ergo grips on Pacerpoles have many fans and let you get straight up to speed with poles without much need to develop technique, probably good if your knees are already suffering. If you stick with conventional grip/strap, wider straps in smoother tape will generally be more comfortable.
The locking mechanism bothers some people. Camming levers are a more expensive alternative to the more usual twist locks. They're also a bit heavier, but considered more reliable and are easier to fettle if something goes wrong.
Do practice and get some technique. Waving them at the ground doesn't get weight on them so doesn't help your knees. But it does help them get in the way, and is what at least half the peopleI see with them are doing.
I had problems with my patellas going on me a number of times over the past few years, despite using walking poles. As Pete says, go to a specialist first. It cost me a lot of money, but I went to someone in swansea and I was put on a gait machine and had specialist footbeds which I need to replace each year, but I have had no problems since and it has sorted out my gait as my knee was out of line with my feet.
Once this is sorted then a pair of poles can come into play. I invested in pacerpoles and I found them superb as they actually helped my stance more (upright and more natural than ski type poles), but obviously it is a personal thing whether you get on with them.
Good luck, but if you have done your knees then do find someone who will analyse your gait. Just having someone who moulds a footbed to your foot without seeing how you actually walk may not be enough if you have damaged them.
Most Black Diamond poles have the camming mechanism for length adjustment and I've found them much more reliable than twistlock poles. I have been using the BD Alpine Carbon poles for several years and I really like them -- but they were a bit of an extravagance and the more modern equivalent is even more expensive. Very nearly as good are the BD Trail poles my gf uses -- very comfortable to hold, well made and without any fancy (and useless) features like springs/shock absorbers. Well worth considering imo.
I'm one of those who tried Pacerpoles and didn't like them. I might be best to see if you can borrow some to use for a while before getting any yourself if you fancy these.
I'm also just starting looking at poles too. +1 on your feet/ground being a cause of the knee problems, I bike more than walk currently and I got knee pain about 3 years back and a change of shoe sorted it, so tends to align with everyone else's view of solve your knee problem not using poles, and use poles for their own sake, and I recently moved to more light/flexible footwear for walking, seems to be improving comfort.
If you do get some strong poles, they then can open up option of lighter roomier tents.
Thanks to this thread I now know to avoid the twistlock varieties and will narrow my search to camlock. I'm inherently cautious of carbon, when that stuff fails it can end up nasty. Why Aluminium vs steel (stronger so can end up same weight as Alu at least on bike frames) vs Ti (springier and lighter but v.expesive) ?
no worries where can i go to get my knee analysed etc. i'm based in worcester?
Sound advice Explorer thanks
SD i'm 60kg n my exped pack weighs 22lbs with all my own gear in as dont like to share which black diamonds would u recommend as they have a large range?
Re your comment yesterday about where you can go to get your knees analysed -
I am afraid for me it was trial and error with search terms on Google - that is how I found my specialist. However, it's worth persevering as much of the talk about which pole to buy does not actually address your knee problem; walking poles, any make of walking pole, may only mask the fundamental problem at hand. That is what happened to me anyway.
You may have to travel as well, since I know that some of the armed forces personal from the Midlands area go to Swansea (and it wouldn't take long down the M5 / M4), but I am sure there are other specialists around closer than that Torchwood. The overall cost may be high - travel, purchase etc - but much better than continual problems and possible arthritis type problems later in life if you want to continue walking.
"Why Aluminium vs steel (stronger so can end up same weight as Alu at least on bike frames) vs Ti (springier and lighter but v.expesive) ?"
I've never seen any steel poles or titanium ones. AFAIK good quality alu is quite strong enough for the job. Titanium would be ideal but ruinously expensive, even compared to carbon fibre. I think Leki do or did poles called Titanium, but they were actually alu.
anyone got recommendation on Black Diamond poles, there's like 15 to choose from... excluding child's and female-specifics that's 11 to choose from....
I'm looking for strong, light, reliable. I guess reliable excludes carbon? light = Alu, and for strong, BD have these ones which have an elasticated connecting sections which nest into each other with 20cm of adjustment, but don't have snow basket option, so then its just still a bewildering choice......
"I guess reliable excludes carbon?"
Why? It may break 'differently' to alu (shatter rather than bend) but in my experience it's no more likely to break at all. And carbon doesn't corrode if neglected (alu needs drying to avoid corrosion).
I've had various poles for walking and ski touring. Of the aluminium ones, one pair of BDs eventually failed (at the spring-based locking mechanism. All four of the carbon poles I've used are going strong, including a pair that have survived 10 years of being leant on , fallen on and scraped by ski edges... You have to absolutely rely on your poles when you're ski touring and for me carbon has proved itself up to the job.
thanks Matt, I'll keep open on carbon then
I've just ordered a Tarptent Notch and I need poles which can do a range from say 100cm (lower the poles to lower the fly) to 115cm (max headroom) and my height indicates I need about 120cm poles. Any recommendations? There is for example the Distance FL Trekking which I could get at 120cm and it reduces by 20cm, but doesn't do snow basket option. The Notch is not primarily for being pitched in snowing conditions but that's mean the walking won't be on snow.
I have had a pair of one-piece carbon track poles go. Catastrophic total failure with no warning and no particularly traumatic event: was just stoking and poking along and suddenly I only had the one pole left...
Not that it stopped me replacing them with another carbon pair, mind. The newer ones obviously have some sort of sheath over the carbon which would presumably help soak up potential cracking incidents.
Touring I use Swix Mountain 1 piece alu, but that's as much about the ice-spike, floating basket and grip/strap as the (excellent and very strong) pole connecting them.
Was looking at Rohan's new (alu) poles t'other day. Significantly lighter than my BDs but they don't radiate fragility at all. Grip and strap nice too, worth a look if you want something light. I wouldn't swap them for my BDs 'cause I want them to stand up to all my weight on a monster pole plant to get me and a big pack out of porridge, but that's not needed for walking.
I don't think the particular poles I've got would necessarily be right for your requirements. I guess I'd look at a couple more criteria to see if it narrows down the choice at all.
Any constraints on packed length? I imagine you're looking for a 3 or 4 section pole (whereas it's not an issue for me with the 2-section BD Pure Carbon ski poles).
And what do you consider light weight? I've also got an older pair of BD Expedition poles which are very nice, strong, 125cm max length, but weigh around 600g the pair. Compare that with a pair of Fizan Compact Ultralights at 312g - I now choose to carry the Fizans far more often.
Thinking about the OP and the knee, my only knee problem now is descending steep hills and I was thinking hence you'd want poles that can go much longer to brake your descent and reduce knee load, that would hence suggest a pole which can go 30cm or so longer than you'd need for the flat?
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