Does hiking or taking stairs hurt your knees? I get asked, a lot, about gait. Gait is a blanket term for walking, but since the physics of walking change depending on the terrain, so do gait parameters.
I’ve presented walking on flat ground, which has a specific set of mechanical parameters. Here is a video on uphill and downhill hiking that can save. your. knees.
Most of us use more muscles on the front of the body than on the back, due to years and years of excessive sitting and positive-heeled footwear use.
This is a quick hiking makeover that will help you shift the work from your knees to your hips!
P.S. You can apply most of this to stair-walking. The only issue is, the size of the stair forces you into a gait pattern that is not natural.
Going Upstairs: Maintain the vertical shin on the front leg. This uses the glutes of the front leg and calf of the back leg, instead of the quads (and knee cartilage) of the front leg.
Going Downstairs: Let the pelvis toggle to drop your foot closer to the step below. Don’t force the knees to bend excessively to make up for pelvic immobility. Dig?
Want more on walking? Check our our “Walk This Way” Alignment Snack.
Want more on knees? Read this book, and watch these two videos below: