Hi everyone, I’ve been using trekking poles for many years. I never leave for a hike without them since the first time I tried them. I wrote this article to expose the advantages of using this piece of gear. I know they are not sexy, but they are a game changer when you hike… so please read on.
Using trekking poles has the effect of significantly decrease the amount of mechanical stress on the knees, ankles and hips which contributes to decrease the incidence of injuries related to repetitive movements (i.e. walking in this case). Poles are especially handy to decrease stress on the joints in the context of a multiday backpacking trip where you hike for many hours a day with a heavy backpack and even on a long day hike. They also make your arms work to help propel your body forward. This decreases the amount of effort that your legs must provide especially during steep climbs and descents. It allows you to save your leg a little and over a few hours it might help you to travel a few extra miles/kilometers.
Many traumatic injuries can occur when hiking on rugged trails. Some examples of traumatic injuries that frequently occur are knee and ankle sprains, muscle strains, and fractures secondary to falls. Hiking with two poles helps prevent that type of injuries because it contributes to improve balance thus decreasing the risk of trauma. Therefore, it is a good piece of gear to have for your own safety. No one wants to be stuck with a broken limb deep in the backcountry.
Trekking poles can also be handy in many other ways during a hike. They can offer extra support when hiking on a very windy an exposed ridge. They also help to keep your balance when battling against the current when trying to cross a substantial river or brook that doesn’t have a bridge. Telescopic poles used in conjunction with Duck Tape can be used as an adjustable-length splint to immobilize a broken limb. Last, they act as a probe to test the safety of the terrain on which we are going to travel (ex: the dept of a mud hole or a water source, the thickness of the ice on a brook, if rocks or logs are stable to walk on, etc.)
Do you use trekking poles?
If you liked this article, please share it and like my Facebook page
Robin |physiotherapist, part-time blogger and avid hiker|