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  1. #1
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    Default Knee/joint problems- hypermobility

    So, as many of you know, I do a lot of hiking, and now some backpacking. It's an activity that i love to death, but it can place a whole lot of pressure on the knees and such.

    As I've done more and more hiking, over greater distances and elevations, I've come to find that I sometimes get hit with great knee pain, especially when going downhill. I've known all my life that I have flat feet, and thought that my flat footedness and resulting overpronation of the foot might be causing me the grief in my knees. For that issue, I've been looking into good insoles I can use for ultimate stability support in my hiking boots, while also paying close attention to how I land on my foot and pronate, consciously trying to rotate the foot and leg outward. This seems to have helped me a lot when walking on flat ground and uphill.

    However, i was doing some research today on knee braces as another option of avoiding knee pain on hikes, particularly downhill, and came across the topic of "hypermobility." I did some quick googling, a qucik check on my knees with a mirror, and behold... apparently my damn knee hyperextends, and the kneecap itself may have hypermobility. This explains why sometimes after a couple hours of hiking my knee joints may begin to essentially collapse mid-stride, threatening to dislocate. That issue in particular occurs mostly when going downhill, and now I know it's because of my knee's tendency to hyperextend. Only when going downhill does my leg need to completely straighten out in order to hit the ground in front of me, and this form of movement allows for my hypermobility to become an issue.

    Tweaking how I walk when i start getting that helps just enough to keep injuries from happening, but I know it's just a matter of time, hence why I'm looking for extra support. This new revelation is good for helping me understand where my joint problems are coming from, but it also tells me that all of these joint issues together will probably give me serious problems as i get older if I don't address it immediately, especially while I'm engaging in such strenuous, joint wearing activities like backpacking. So does anyone have any advice on what i should do? I'm looking into superfeet insoles to help with the alignment of my foot and higher joints as a result, and trying to see what kind of knee brace would be most beneficial. The hyperextension isn't extreme, I don't think, so hopefully I can alleviate these problems without surgery (now or in the future).

  2. #2
    Senior Member Tiltyred's Avatar
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    Go to an orthopaedist and let him advise you. Don't mess with your knees.

  3. #3
    morose bourgeoisie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiltyred View Post
    Go to an orthopaedist and let him advise you. Don't mess with your knees.
    Seconded. Knees don't grow on trees.

  4. #4
    pathwise dependent FDG's Avatar
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    Yeah, definitely in need of a doctor, it's hard to self-diagnose knee problems. By the way, I think knee pain while going downhill is sufficiently normal, as long as you're not well-trained. I don't have any knee problem, yet when I vacation in the Alps, I need 3 days of hiking before my knees and legs stop hurting during a long descent. But I guess you might have already done enough to exclude this possibility.
    ENTj 7-3-8 sx/sp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    But I guess you might have already done enough to exclude this possibility.
    Yea, in fact I'd say its gotten worse, which is why I'm paying attention to it now. The knee collapse issue is actually a rather new development. Where before it was just pain, now it's a more serious issue of my joints possibly failing on me (structurally) while I'm hiking. Pains and shit eventually go away as your body releases its own pain killers, but that doesn't help me for instances when my knee starts to buckle.

  6. #6
    Don't pet me. JAVO's Avatar
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    Trekking poles and minimal footwear might help. Minimal footwear reduces our artificial dependence on padded heels, thus leading to a foot strike and stride for which the body was designed. Heel-first striking makes our legs, knees, and spine absorb the impact even though the foot bones and muscles are designed to do this.

  7. #7
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    go see a freaking doctor. It might be something different than hypermobility and could be allieviated. If your legs starts to structural tremble under you when you walk and you need a wheelchair, hiking might not be the best thing as an activity. But a trained physician is better at estimating that than me or you.

    I have hypermobile joints in hand and legs plus myopathy so I know what you are dealing with and hiking is not an activity I do as much. Ive had my legs tremble on me when overstrained but that is because of the myopathy more than the hypermobility. So therefore it might not be what you have diagnosed yourself as.

    The above was meant as an example not specific that you have the same as me.


    Edit: have you thought about the consquences? That maybe your body is not cut out for long hikes and such? Maybe hiking is not the thing for you physically.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by slowriot View Post
    go see a freaking doctor. It might be something different than hypermobility and could be allieviated. If your legs starts to structural tremble under you when you walk and you need a wheelchair, hiking might not be the best thing as an activity. But a trained physician is better at estimating that than me or you.

    I have hypermobile joints in hand and legs plus myopathy so I know what you are dealing with and hiking is not an activity I do as much. Ive had my legs tremble on me when overstrained but that is because of the myopathy more than the hypermobility. So therefore it might not be what you have diagnosed yourself as.

    The above was meant as an example not specific that you have the same as me.
    Well you can tell if a joint/limb is hypermobile by the angle it forms, of course, which is how i came to the conclusion. My knees do hyperextend if I lock them (and more so if additional pressure is applied), and up til now I just thought it was normal. No, I don't need a wheelchair, I just need something to keep the joint stable and in proper alignment, because there is an inherent weakness in how it's structured, evidently. if it were merely a matter of strengthening the muscles and ligaments, it should be getting better as I have been hiking, walking, and doing strength training in the legs. I've always had joint pains and needed orthotics as a kid (which i neglected to stay with), and I think my joints have actually improved over the years as I've become healthier. However, for this level of activity, I think my poor genetics just demand that I have some extra support.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Risen View Post
    Well you can tell if a joint/limb is hypermobile by the angle it forms, of course, which is how i came to the conclusion. My knees do hyperextend if I lock them (and more so if additional pressure is applied), and up til now I just thought it was normal. No, I don't need a wheelchair, I just need something to keep the joint stable and in proper alignment, because there is an inherent weakness in how it's structured, evidently. if it were merely a matter of strengthening the muscles and ligaments, it should be getting better as I have been hiking, walking, and doing strength training in the legs. I've always had joint pains and needed orthotics as a kid (which i neglected to stay with), and I think my joints have actually improved over the years as I've become healthier. However, for this level of activity, I think my poor genetics just demand that I have some extra support.
    That makes sense, but what you are suggesting is not something that you can just go buy in a sports store. If you are think knees braces or that kind of thing atleast. It needs to be fitted for you specifically so you get the best support. And there are different types out there so what might be the best solution for the activity you do can be very different. Depending on the support you need.

    Or maybe something like this might do the trick.


  10. #10
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    As a sufferer of hypermobility myself I can give you some advice( I was medically diagnosed a few years ago). Ask if anyone in your family is hypermobile because it tends to run in families. Additionally check yourself against the beighton scale. It's hard to tell you exactly because I am not a doctor or proffessional BUT check out the beighton scale and if you score a 7 or higher you potentially are hypermobile. Go to your doctor and talk to them because getting braces withoug medical need can do more damage. Knee sleeves can be a good idea if you want support but don't know what is wrong. Hypermobility is caused by a defiency of collagen in the joints so people have to work harder to strengthen their joints. However the joints can be strengthened with special exercises But most importantly GO TO A DOCTOR. They know best. Good luck hope everything works out. Also even if you don't live in the UK check out Joint hypermobility - NHS Choices
    It's a government website so all information is correct.

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