WHY Walking Poles??
It is vital to look after your ankles, knees, and hips. As we know, many athletes suffer life-long joint problems from their sporting activities. Both men and women who play sport run the risk of short-term and permanent joint damage from a variety of sports including basketball, football, squash, tennis, skiing, track and field sports, and a variety of contact sports.
I contend that walking poles can help people with a history of knee or ankle problems and safeguard others against damage. This damage may not just be from repetitive walking; it is more likely from tripping, falling, or twisting an ankle. There is medical evidence that using walking poles correctly reduces the load on feet, ankles, knees and hips by up to 40%. This comes about by bringing the arms and shoulders into play as weight is taken through the palm of the hands and muscles are activated in the arms and upper torso to share the load.
Please bear in mind walking a Camino such as the Camino Frances is around 800 km (about 500 miles) which is 800,000 metres and if your stride is about 1 metre then each foot will touch the ground 800,000 times. With shorter steps (now recommended) it might be 1,000,000 steps on foot. Thats a lot of work for the bones, joints, muscles, tendons etc.
Don’t be put off by people who are against walking poles. Do some research and make up your own mind.
There are many brands available at different price points. My favourites are the “Leki Legacy Trekking Poles” while others prefer Black Diamond. You don’t have to spend a lot to buy as pair that are serviceable. My wife likes the cork handles for comfort and grip.
Walking or trekking poles come in a number of styles so read the reviews and, if money is a problem, consider a less expensive pair. Some links to the most popular brands below.
Chapter 8 in “Backpacks, Boots and (no) Blisters” is on Trekking or Walking Poles LINK HERE PLEASE