There has always been a debate among outdoorsmen about whether to use knee pads while hiking. Whether it should be used or not, and when to use it, there are different opinions, and some people hold the view that "knee pads are useless". So, are knee pads really useless?
Related Article: How to Use Knee Pads Properly When Exercising
So are knee pads useful? Don't worry, let's take a look at the structure of the knee and the mechanism of damage.
The knee consists of the thighbone (or femur), the tibia and fibula of the lower leg, and the kneecap or patella. Between the femur and tibia are two large discs of cartilage called the medial and lateral menisci.
The patella is located in front of the knee joint and in front of the lower end of the femur. It is the largest sesamoid bone in the human body. It is embedded in the quadriceps tendon and suspended in front of the femoral trochlear joint. It is very easy to slide, which is the internal cause of knee joint injury. The patella is the fulcrum of the human body, without which you cannot walk. The most famous example is that Sun Bin, a famous strategist during the Warring States Period, was jealous of his fellow apprentice Pang Juan and had his patella dug out. After that, he could not walk and could only use a wheelchair. In fact, Sun Bin's real name was Sun Boling, and he was called Sun Bin after this torture.
The main functions of the meniscus are to transmit loads, help maintain the stability of the knee joint, enhance lubrication, regulate joint pressure, and absorb shocks. The ability of the knee to carry weight depends almost entirely on the meniscus.
Anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments and internal and external collateral ligaments provide stability to the knee joint and ensure that the femur and tibia can be perfectly combined with the meniscus.
If the knee is a car, the patella is the engine, the meniscus is the brake and shock absorber, and the ligaments are the braking system. After reading it, do you feel that our human knees are particularly complicated and precise?
Don't think so.
Bruce Latimer, director of the Center for Human Origins at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, once said,
Putting the most complex joint in the body between two giant levers -- the femur and the tibia -- is asking for trouble.
According to research statistics, the knee load multiples are as follows:
When lying down, the weight on the knees is almost zero.
When standing and walking, the weight on the knees is about 1 to 2 times the body weight.
When going up and down slopes or stairs, the weight on the knees is about 3 to 5 times the body weight.
When running, the knee is about 4 times your body weight.
When playing, the knee is about 6 times your body weight.
When squatting and kneeling, the weight on the knees is about 7-8 times the body weight.
The indispensable part of outdoor hiking is going up and downhill, plus the weight of the backpack, the load on the knees can be imagined. Just imagine, how much weight can you lift? Is it difficult to move half your own weight?
Among the common sports injuries, knee injuries can account for about 25%, which is a high-incidence site of sports injuries. This is because the knee joint is an important bone connection for the lower limbs of the human body. In addition to its role in bearing weight, the movement of the lower limbs and the change of direction of the human body require the synergy of the knee joint, which leads to a sharp increase in the risk of injury.
At the same time, because the articular socket that constitutes the knee joint is relatively shallow, it needs to rely on a large amount of surrounding soft tissue to maintain joint stability, so the possibility of soft tissue injury is also relatively high.
So the knee joint, this "complex and delicate" human tissue is very fragile, easily injured, and almost irreversible, especially the meniscus.
Below are two common knee sports injuries on outdoor hiking.
Meniscus injuries are often caused by sudden changes in the knee joint during movement.
For example, when the knee joint performs flexion, extension and rotation at the same time, the meniscus needs to be shifted according to the different requirements of these two movements. Excessive motion can lead to a tear in the meniscus.
At the same time, long-term exercise may cause repeated wear or minor trauma to the meniscus, resulting in fatigue injury.
The meniscus is a fibrocartilage and has no blood supply itself. The nutrition mainly comes from the synovial fluid of the joint. Only the marginal part connected to the joint capsule receives blood supply from the synovial membrane. Therefore, once damaged, it is difficult to repair itself.
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Also called patellar tendinitis or anterior knee pain, pain often occurs around the patella, most commonly below the patella. The main cause of patellofemoral pain syndrome is insufficient stability of the knee joint. During exercise, the trajectory of the patella is changed, causing pain.
In view of the sports properties of outdoor hiking, knee injuries that occur during outdoor hiking are more common in the above two categories. Long, uninterrupted walks can easily wear down the meniscus and patella.
Should knee pads be used?
As for the protection of knees, many outdoor enthusiasts have been confused about whether to use knee pads, and some people will say "foreigners don't need knee pads", thinking that "knee pads are useless".
First of all, the invention of the knee pad must be the product of the development of modern sports science, and its appearance must have its reason. As for the idea that "foreigners don't need knee braces", I really don't know where it came from. I searched the Internet and there are many suggestions on protecting knees with knee braces, but they prefer to call knee braces "knee braces".
Are "knee pads useless"? Of course it works.
There are three functions of knee pads:
The first is to keep warm, this effect is self-evident. The lack of muscle protection on the knee joint makes it easy to catch cold, especially when walking outdoors, sleeping in the wind, and the warm effect of knee pads in cold weather is beyond doubt.
Stabilize the knee joint. The working principle of knee pads is equivalent to wrapping a layer of "muscle ligaments" and other protective tissues from the outside to support the stability of the joints and limit the movement of the joints, thereby preventing damage.
Buffer bumps and prevent chafing. Knee pads have a certain thickness and elasticity. When the knee joint collides with a hard object, it can buffer and prevent abrasions.
How to choose a more suitable knee pad
1. Patellar wrapping
Tubular knee pads: This type of knee pads can completely cover the knee joint and play a certain role in fixing and supporting the entire knee joint. At the same time, it can control the slight swelling of the knee and can also keep the knee joint warm for arthritis patients.
Applicable people: Suitable for people with mild knee problems, difficult to distinguish the position of knee pain, or people who have the habit of jogging and brisk walking.
Note: Because the patella is completely covered, when the knee joint is bent more than 45 degrees, the knee brace will limit the relative position of the patella and the femur, which will increase the probability of patella degeneration and aggravate knee pain in the long run. Therefore, this type of knee pad is not suitable for daily wear, especially for people who often need to go up and down stairs or squat.
For those who have a meniscus injury and like to hike, supportive knee pads are an option. This knee brace can protect the meniscus by sharing part of the load on the meniscus.
For people who have ligament damage and still need to participate in sports, they can choose a tight support knee pad. The tightness of the knee pads can limit the range of motion of the knee joint, and with the support bars on the side, it can effectively relieve the pressure on the ligaments and prevent re-injury.
2. Patellar pressure relief type
This knee brace is designed with an opening at the position of the patella, and the opening is specially thickened and strengthened. The design of the opening reduces the pressure of the knee brace on the patella to a certain extent, and at the same time, it can better fix the patella and avoid friction and pain caused by abnormal movement of the patella.
Applicable people: Suitable for people who have abnormal movement of the patella, pain behind the patella, difficulty in going up and down stairs and squatting, and people who often run. This type of knee brace can be worn in everyday life because it does not compress the patella and limit the flexion of the knee joint.
3. Belt type
Also known as the patellar compression band or patellar band, it is a circular ring and is fixed to the patellar tendon just below the patella. Band-type knee braces give the patellar tendon a certain binding force, which can reduce the excessive traction of the patellar tendon during exercise, thereby reducing pain and allowing the patellar tendon to get a proper rest.
However, this type of protective gear has no protective effect on other parts of the knee joint. These knee braces are not suitable for people with ligament and meniscus injuries.
Applicable people: It is suitable for patients with patellar tendinitis and pain under the knee. It is also suitable for people who often run, jump, like ball games or ride often.
There are many types of knee pads, and only the right one can protect your knees. Of course, in addition to the above types, the choice of knee pads should also consider the material and size.
The duality of knee pads cannot be ignored
The knee brace takes on the task of a part of the muscles around the knee, and the auxiliary muscles support and stabilize the knee, thereby protecting the knee. Because of this, the long-term use of knee pads will cause the muscles to not get enough exercise and become weaker and weaker. Once the knee pads are not worn, the knees are more likely to be injured.
Therefore, for people with healthy knees, it is best not to wear knee pads unless they are doing more intense exercise. For people with knee injuries, knee pads can be properly worn, but at the same time, attention should be paid to the exercise of the muscles around the knee.
How to wear knee pads in the mountains
1. Do not use knee pads when going up the mountain. You may feel that using it will give you a certain bounce, but these are detrimental and unhelpful. Muscle relaxation, blood circulation, will be affected by it. And I believe that you are fully capable of getting to the top of the front with perseverance without it.
2. In the process of going down the mountain, please take it apart and tie it to your knees at a moderate degree of tightness. Remember to be moderately tight. If it is too tight, it will also affect blood circulation. The reason for going down the mountain is: affected by the gravity of the earth, the thigh bone will put pressure on the knee when going down the mountain. More often, if you are running, the pressure of the body and the gravity of the earth will cause friction to the knee to a great extent. , It is very easy to cause knee injury. Although you may not feel that there is any problem at the time, your knee will become more and more fragile as time goes by, and even have mutations, such as bone hyperplasia. General knee pads have a ventilation hole, which should be located at the top of the knee. This is the experience of product design, which is beneficial to the knee pad without causing adverse effects on the knee.
3. After outdoor sports, wash the knee pads in time. Even if you're not a big fan of cleanliness, you should clean it. Because the sweat stains generated during exercise are easy to block the ventilation holes on the fabric of the knee pads, if not cleaned for a long time, it will block the smoothness of cell respiration and have an adverse effect on the skin.
Ways to protect your knees
1. Weight loss
Maintain your normal body weight as much as possible. Obesity is the enemy of the knee joint. To prevent knee pain, you must first lift your weight. Don't think that adding 3kg is nothing, and you can't see it from the outside. In fact, every step you take adds 6kg, and you go up and down the stairs to add 12kg.
Not to mention the pressure of continued obesity on the knees, which is why many fat people have bad knees. In addition, if the knee is already uncomfortable, carry as little weight as possible, and reduce the overall weight.
2, do less long-term squatting and kneeling movements
Try not to squat to do housework or kneel to wipe the floor. As for Taijiquan, which is loved by many people, it is recommended that people who are old or have knee discomfort should not force themselves to squat too low, just stand up and play high-position Taijiquan.
3. Train the muscles around the knee joint more
Like the quadriceps on the front of the thigh and the biceps on the back of the thigh, strengthening these muscle groups can increase the stability of the knee and reduce wear and tear on the joints. You can usually do more leg lifts, or indoor cycling, you can train these muscles.
4, feel uncomfortable, do not force
If you feel uncomfortable while exercising, stop immediately and don't force it. Pain is actually the best warning signal to rest, slow down or change sports.
5. Get enough rest
Getting enough rest is also important to protect the knee joint, because tired muscles can't stabilize the knee.
6. Know your limits and do your best
Use the joint sparingly, don't torture it or try to train it, especially when you're older. Because sports injuries are usually injuries caused by exceeding the capacity load. For example: 40-year-old people can no longer use their knees as 20-year-olds, because the functions of the body are slowly degrading, and the reluctance will only lead to injuries.
7. Gradually increase the time and volumeFor example, if you want to start walking, you can start with 10 minutes a day, and then slowly increase it by 5 minutes, 10 minutes... until 30 minutes. This is the most comfortable and safe way to get yourself used to it.
8. Do more exercises that do not hurt your knees
Walking, swimming, and indoor cycling are good exercise prescriptions for knee protection.
Walking puts less stress on the knees than jogging. Swimming and water sports do not put any burden on the knee joints because of the resistance of the water.
As for the indoor bicycle, it can train the strength of the muscles without hurting the knees. Because it can not only be very intense, but also less impact on the joints. However, you still need to pay attention to adjusting the height. When you sit down and step forward, it is advisable for your toes to touch the ground, so as to avoid the knee movement angle being too large, which will wear the knee instead.
9. Should people with degenerative joints move?
Regular exercise can reduce weight and reduce the load on joints, thereby reducing joint wear and tear and reducing the occurrence of degenerative arthritis.
Patients with degenerative arthritis can walk if they can, but do so gradually. For example, walk for 10 minutes and rest for 5 minutes, don't force it. If you can still climb mountains, it is better to take the slopes than the stairs. Going downhill or down the stairs is harder than going up the mountain, you can try to go down the mountain by car. Do warm-up activities before exercising.