Bad Knees + Walking Poles = Pain Relief

Pittsburgh blogger shares his maiden voyage with walking poles

An unidentified male from Pittsburgh whose blog, Navigating the Finite, just started using poles and enthused about the relief they offer to sore knees and back. In a post called “In Praise of Nordic Walking Poles,” he wrote:

“I have had my Nordic Walking Poles for week now and have not used them until tonight. Fantastic! My knees and back are shot, complete and total junk, and while I can get around, walking certainly is no pleasure.

“I left work in time to go to a small park nearby. While walking through the parking lot at work I was thinking to myself, this is crazy, my knees are killing me, what the hell do I want to go walking for? I had spent most of the day on my feet on the concrete shop floor. The trip to the car after work was painful. Well I decided to go and try it. What the hell, if my knees and back hurt I could always quit. I drove home got the poles and my walking spikes and headed off to the park.

“One small step for mankind, one huge step for a couch potato! I walked! I enjoyed it. I walked fast. I am not using the poles right, but I ACTUALLY WALKED WITH LITTLE PAIN IN MY KNEES AND BACK! It was fantastic! This is the first time that I have enjoyed walking in a long long time!”

His surprise and joy were palpable as he wrote that he had an a welcome aerobic workout and that with this new-found pleasure, he isn’t even sure how long he walked. Then, he thanked “Old Baguette” for introducing Nordic Walking poles, writing, “I had never heard of Nordic Walking Poles until the Old Baguette mentioned them in her blog. Thank you, my dear for introducing me to something that just may turn my life around.” 

Of course, I found  “old Baguette.” In a post called “Are Walking Poles Lutheran?” about a hospital stay, she wrote, “I’ve spent the last week schussing up and down the corridors of Abbott Northwestern Hospital here in Minneapolis. I was the first person to use Nordic Poles instead of a cane, crutches, or walker, and I wowed ’em all! Doctors muttered, ‘I think I’ll have my patients use those things!'” The title of the post could have been written by Garrison Keillor, but the sentiments expressed another Nordic Walker’s realization of the benefits.

What struck me about both Sextant and Old Baguette, as they call themelves,  is that they simply found walking with poles instantly beneficial. Were they actually Nordic Walking poles or hiking poles? I have no idea. What brand were they? I inititally had not a clue either, except later when I read Sextant’s comment on O.B’s post, Sextant wrote that his poles were made in “Lillyhammer,” which would be Lillehammer and would make them Swix.  Did he use “proper” technique as taught by any of the training and certifying organizations? He didn’t mention it, so I have no way of knowing that either. I do know that Sextant reveled in the thrill of discovery when his pain went away while walking with poles, and I hope he keeps it up, wherever walking with his poles leads him — and I hope that his Nordic Walking muse, Old Bagutette, continues as well.

And once again, I realized that the Midwest indeed is the epicenter of Nordic Walking in the US.

6 thoughts on “Bad Knees + Walking Poles = Pain Relief”

  1. Hi Claire,

    I am amazed by the lack of response to your posts! I thought that this post was exceptional and expected numerous responses to it. Guess I was wrong. Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving and please keep up the great work you are doing here on Nordic Walking. I read your blog daily and I DO appreciate all your efforts!

    Walk Well!

    Ed Urbanski

  2. I use poles when hiking in to remote rock climbs with a heavy pack; I used hiking poles when on the Everest expedition, in 1988, to hike up to ur base camp while carry9ing loads. I find them especially useful fro descending , when more weight goes on the knees.

  3. They are Swix Carbon from SkyWalking, and, yes, I doubt that I was using them correctly. Every time I looked, the pole was in the wrong position according to the directions. I quit using them, temporarily because I had to go on a business trip, and was afraid of aggravating my knees and back. I got back from the trip this week and hope to go out with the poles this weekend and develop a daily walking program, although my job does not always allow the time.

    While I am not climbing Everest, the ability to go out and enjoy nature and get some relatively painless exercise is priceless. I hope that once I develop my daily program and learn to use the poles correctly that I will benefit from increased core strength, aerobic oxygen uptake, and hopefully get some strength to return to my back and legs.

  4. Tried them again yesterday in a more all-terrain setting. Simply phenomenal. When I am on flat ground I can easily out walk my current aerobic ability (which admittedly sucks). On hills and rough ground of course I have to take it slower, but I can manage some very steep hills. The poles and my turf shoes are like four wheel drive.

    Yesterday I seen a pair of red foxes sniffing about what appeared to be their den. I am going to return to the spot tomorrow with my camera and see if I can get a photo of them. What a joy to be able to go out and be in the woods again.

  5. Hallelujah, another convert to walking poles in this post. Just as some use them to save their knees and back, I love the arm and core workout I get from using my poles.
    Please reassure Ed Urbanski that you have lots of readers who read every one of your posts and may comment only on the top one, grateful as we are for each gem of your blogging narrative.

  6. My new walking poles will be here Wednesday. I have two knee replacements, three herniated discs, & I’m overweight. That being said, a body in motion, stays in motion. I’m usually in bed with my feet up. I’m looking forward to using these to see the world again.

    Thanks Sextant and all.

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