Knees!!

bridgerbenson

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Jul 6, 2015
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Sandhills, NE
Looking for some tips on dealing with knee issues and I figure there's no better place than visiting with you Western studs that can put the miles on in mountain country.

I'm only 35, 6-0, 175. Above average fitness. Carpenter. The last couple years elk hunting, I feel I'm in great shape, but after an 8-10 mile day, will randomly have a knee just go to hell. Done. Flared up. Usually better by the next morning though. Last year when it gave up, I was several miles and several thousand feet elevation change from camp. Brutal.

Swore I'd have stronger legs this year to avoid that, but with 2 months to go, and both knees feeling "tweaked" from time to time, I'm getting nervous! I hiked just over 8 miles yesterday through some pretty steep canyons with a 60 lbs pack, and felt good, but knees still don't feel strong. I'm determined to get a handle on this before September!
Any tips from fellow hunters who've no doubt dealt with something similar? Preferably something other than "suck it up, you're getting old!"

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jthomas76fire

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Jun 24, 2017
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Looking for some tips on dealing with knee issues and I figure there's no better place than visiting with you Western studs that can put the miles on in mountain country.

I'm only 35, 6-0, 175. Above average fitness. Carpenter. The last couple years elk hunting, I feel I'm in great shape, but after an 8-10 mile day, will randomly have a knee just go to hell. Done. Flared up. Usually better by the next morning though. Last year when it gave up, I was several miles and several thousand feet elevation change from camp. Brutal.

Swore I'd have stronger legs this year to avoid that, but with 2 months to go, and both knees feeling "tweaked" from time to time, I'm getting nervous! I hiked just over 8 miles yesterday through some pretty steep canyons with a 60 lbs pack, and felt good, but knees still don't feel strong. I'm determined to get a handle on this before September!
Any tips from fellow hunters who've no doubt dealt with something similar? Preferably something other than "suck it up, you're getting old!"

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I am not much younger at 33. I was having issues with knees as well. A couple things that have really helped me are steady almost everyday crossfit style exercise. Also my diet being really strict and eating alot of omega 3s.

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bridgerbenson

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Sandhills, NE
CrossFit crossed my mind. I'm not a member of the gym, but am pretty active just with the hustle of the carpentry life. Also do push-ups, pull ups, planks etc at home. Also eat very healthy as my wife is a dental hygienist and cooks very healthy so very little to no junk food enters the house. Take several vitamins/ fish oil daily.

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jthomas76fire

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CrossFit crossed my mind. I'm not a member of the gym, but am pretty active just with the hustle of the carpentry life. Also do push-ups, pull ups, planks etc at home. Also eat very healthy as my wife is a dental hygienist and cooks very healthy so very little to no junk food enters the house. Take several vitamins/ fish oil daily.

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Not just for firefighters....check out the 555 fitness app. Keeps things interesting.

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Ross

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I can only speak from a knee injury related perspective and age, but will say take care of them. Omegas are good, ice helps tremendously to calm down the inflammation, strength training, stretching and not over doing it, but working into the activity slowly as not to inflame anything. Also, if not using trekking poles grab a set they definitely will help.
 

AK Troutbum

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Chugiak, Alaska
All above is good info. I would also add, when doing your training/hiking with a pack, dump most of the wt. for your descents. Descending with wt. on your back is for sure the most stressful on your knees and I don't believe you really gain much. Basically too much risk for the reward. If I'm training with a pack, I'll carry something like water up the mountain, then dump it at the top before I head back down. So I might have 10-15 lbs. on my back going down where I had 45-50 lbs. for the hike up. Also, Ibuprofen can be your friend, just remember to take with food. In the end, knee inflammation/pain might just be something that you're going to have to deal with to some extent but all of these measures may help mitigate it a little.
 
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bridgerbenson

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Sandhills, NE
Well, there's your problem right there. Lose the 60lbs and your knees will thank you.
I'm trying not to be the sniveling sissy out of our group when it comes time to pack meat! Only hike with pack once or twice a week.

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bridgerbenson

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Sandhills, NE
I'm in the Nebraska sandhills so only have a bunch of 100ft canyons to climb up and down! Wish I was in the mountains!

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Jason Snyder

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I'm in the Nebraska sandhills so only have a bunch of 100ft canyons to climb up and down! Wish I was in the mountains!

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Mountains are nice but not necessary. I trained to climb Mount Rainier and a solo backpack hunt in the Rubies of Nevada in some FLAT country at 700 feet above sea level.


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MAVinWA

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Aug 15, 2012
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Based in WA, OTC archery public land in AZ, UT, so
Fortunate to not have any knee injuries in the pat. But after hiking, hunting all day with elevation gain up and down, pretty stressful.
what has made a difference for my 60 yr old knees; I wear a Copper Fit compression knee band.
supports for my left knee, where soreness usually occur. My right knee occasionally will get a compression band too, but always my left knee.
 
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bridgerbenson

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Sandhills, NE
Fortunate to not have any knee injuries in the pat. But after hiking, hunting all day with elevation gain up and down, pretty stressful.
what has made a difference for my 60 yr old knees; I wear a Copper Fit compression knee band.
supports for my left knee, where problems usually occur. My right knee occasionally will get a compression band too, but always my right knee.
Well done sir! I pray I'm still able to elk hunt into my 60's!

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archer wapiti

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Sep 12, 2015
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New Mexico
Don't overlook tight muscles in your calves, thighs and hips. If some are tight and basically non-functional, your joint isn't going to be moving properly. Find yourself a deep tissue massage therapist (no warm rocks or scented candles) and see if that'll help you. I had a painful right knee that massage therapy has made a non-issue.
 

5MilesBack

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I'm trying not to be the sniveling sissy out of our group when it comes time to pack meat!

Regardless what the military would tell you, the human body (the joints) aren't designed to carry all that extra weight.......be it fat or in a pack. Something has to give, and it's usually the joints........eventually. I don't train at all with a weighted pack, packing the meat and/or trophy out is quite enough throughout the year. Muscle-wise and capability wise.........I'm fine. But knee-wise........no thanks.

Lifting and strength training is great for the muscles and OK on the joints (if done properly), but all that pounding on uneven terrain with extra weight on your back is heck on knees.
 

Bar

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Besides all that was recommended. When i'm carrying extra weight I wrap my knees with ace bandages. Learn how to do a proper wrap and it will help.
 

backcountry_hunter

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Sep 23, 2016
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Just throwing this out there, if it sounds like witchcraft disregard...

I'd seriously reccomend tieing in w/ a good holistic Dr./Chiro.
 

hodgeman

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Delta Junction, AK
Just FYI- you're at the magic age where joints and tendons start to go downhill.

In my 20's...it was all muscle injuries- overdoing it. Carrying too much weight, working in construction, firefighting all took a toll on the body.

In my mid-30's...the connective tissues were most of it.

In my mid-40's it's all about the joints. An injury free hunting season depends on managing joint pain and judiciously approaching heavy loads. The muscles will still do a 100+lb pack... but the knees, hips and ankles won't.

Also- have a uric acid panel done. You can eat surprisingly healthy and still have a high uric acid level...which turns into gout flare ups. While gout typically presents in a big toe... mine sets up in my knee or instep. Surprisingly painful and it feels like a use injury and the joint will be weak for days or weeks after a flare up.

That was another middle age surprise.
 
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