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Sunday, February 18, 2007

Trekking Poles

Trekking Poles Reduce Knee Pain

The first study investigating the impact of trekking poles when hiking downhill was done by Dr. Neureuther in 1981. He discovered that the use of trekking poles reduces the pressure strain on our most important joint by up to 20%.

US scientists from two different universities (Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL and Willamette University, Salem, OR) came to a similar result.

Michael Bohne, Assistant Professor if Biomechanics at Western Illinois University and leader of the study praised the effectiveness of trekking poles, no matter if the hiker carried a backpack.

The researchers engaged fifteen hikers from a nearby hiking club for the study. A special ramp was designed with built-in sensors to discover the impact when walking down the ramp. In multiple experiments, the hikers had to walk with and without hiking poles as well as with and without wearing either a light backpack loaded with 15% of the hikers body weight or a heavy pack with 30% of the body weight.

After the scientists crunched the numbers they announced that using trekking poles will lead to a significant decrease in pressure to the ankle and knee joints. In the long run use of poles will reduce knee pain as well as protect hikers from injuries due to overuse.