Kirsty McNab, our Sports Physiotherapist gives as an insight to using walking poles:
I just returned after 2 weeks in Russia, climbing Mt Elbrus, Russia and Europe’s highest mountain at 5642m. It had been 20 years since I had done any mountaineering with crampons and ice boots and set off to scramble up a very high mountain! The big difference this time (from all those years ago) was I used Nordic trekking poles - I could not have done it without them.
Nordic poles keep you upright and tall as you walk, helping take strain off your knees, hips, back and neck……and coming downhill - WOW - they save your knees and help your balance. They conserve energy in your legs - to any trekker over distance they are a must.
And their use in protecting your joints just in every day tasks is no laughing matter. I have a client in her late 30’s trying to stave off hip surgery - she is totally pain free as long as she walks with the poles. The poles totally change how she walks and therefore the forces through her worn joint. The same happened with another client in her late 50’s trying to put off a total knee replacement - she is so pleased to have less pain that she even uses 1 of the poles to walk around the office.
Poles are expensive, hire them (we have a pair at Physiologix), or borrow a pair to try them out before spending the money to buy them from a trekking store.
Top Tips for Using Nordic Walking Poles:
2: walking uphill, shorten the poles slightly
4: it is best to hold only the base of the handle and set the wrist straps so you can rest most of your weight on your wrists. As you push through the pole the pressure in then more on the little finger side of your wrist which is much stronger than just gripping the poles.
5: down forget - opposite arm goes with opposite leg.
6: if you use just 1 pole, it must be in the hand on the opposite side to the injury.