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Question from a Reader: Are Walking Poles Good for Bad Knees?

Posted Jun 14 2009 10:11pm

Greetings,

I have been reading “The View” for a couple years now.
I teach Yoga to adults over the age of 55. We’ve developed a program that works for almost everybody, I volunteer and it’s a beneficial class, as much for socialization as for the benefits of Yoga.

Many people have accumulated knee injuries or arthritis or both. I encourage them to be active outside class and I have a number of people who used to love to walk, but avoid it now because of painful knees. (We do learn about knee anatomy and strengthen the muscles around the knees and hips, and your blog has provided me with much motivation in that area).

I was wondering if you might post any experience you have with walking poles and reducing stress on the knees to allow people to walk when it would otherwise be too painful. Hypothetically, it unloads some weight from the knees (and that’s the best answer I could get from an orthopedic surgeon) — but what is the reality?
Are walking poles a good idea for bad knees?

Best wishes,

W.M.


Thanks for your question W.M. And, it sounds like you're helping a lot of people.

The reality is that yes, walking poles reduce the force or unload some of the weight from your knees (and other joints as well)*. And, walking poles increase your step length, stance time, and walking speed. All good things. The only question is whether the walking poles can reduce the force enough for some people.

Walking poles are good for bad knees. They're worth trying.

DK

* WILLSON, JOHN; TORRY, MICHAEL R.; DECKER, MICHAEL J.; KERNOZEK, THOMAS; STEADMAN, J. R. Effects of walking poles on lower extremity gait mechanics. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 33(1):142-147, January 2001.



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