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More on Knees

Here's a few thoughts and comments on knees.  I just finished a 3 day
backpack trip through the Grayson Highlands. First time I've backpacked
since breaking my ankle on my thruhike last August.  Had a great time - (no
one on the trail till I hit Thomas Knob shelter and then there were 7
section hikers there, all heading North,) except for the final day coming
down off of Whitetop (I was going North to South), when my knees started to
sing a bit.  Didn't think too much about it since ever since my thruhike, my
knees have ached a bit on any downhill, but this time when I finished the
hike, my knee got stiffer by the moment and began to seriously hurt, so that
soon I couldn't flex my knee at all without great pain.  So I've been icing
it constantly and gobbling ibuprofen (4 every 4 hours) which is helping some
I'm sure but the pain and stiffness is still there.  Most of the pain
centers on the right top of the kneecap (it was my left leg)- looks like
some amount of swelling as well. I didn't twist it at any time where I
suddenly noticed any sort of pain - actually the first tweak I felt was
nearing the top of Whitetop on the ascent.  Wondering what I did to this
thing?  Anyone have a thought?

Now I spoke to my brother about it (who has coached H.S. cross country and
track for 20 years) and it was his firm opinion that I need to get better
orthotics made by someone who knows what they are doing (and just try to
find that someone!)  He feels that all the quadricep strengthening exercises
are fine, but they are not the root of the problem, but the failure of the
foot to land properly. If the foot is not controlled properly (and there is
a science to this), then the leg rotates and viola - knee pain!  Personally,
I feel he is probably right but doesn't give the exercises to strengthen the
quads enough credit, but then again he has treated a lot more of these
problems than I have.

Now I have lousy feet (weak foot - pronate severely, Morton's toe, which
means 2nd toe is longer than big toe which causes problem by big toe not
being able to carry its share of load at push off, thus foot rotates inward
causing knee, etc. to rotate). I've had two pairs of orthotics in the past
which were 3/4 length ( and per my brother stop short of giving total
forefoot control), both fairly rigid with forefoot posts and heel wedges. He
feels soft orthotics full length with padding to control forefoot varus is
the ticket.  His are made by a doctor in Chicago who treats world class
runners.  And he has no knee pain.

Just thought I would throw this out there and see where it lands.  I know
many of us have knee pain and I wonder if we're really getting to the root
cause of it.  

P.S.  The Mt. Rogers trail crew did a lot of work to reroute the path off of
the summit of Whitetop and they did a nice job.  I liked the original route
better, but it was getting severely rutted.  This reroute takes you thru the
woods at a much lower elevation. Starts just a few feet past Buzzard's Rock.  

Mark (aka Full Moon)
Mark and Janet Holmes 
Full Moon and Celestial Spirit (Ga-Me '95)
Fox Hill Inn - Innkeepers
VA 16
Troutdale,VA  ( 4 miles from Dickey Gap on the AT)
AT Hiker stopping point in the Grayson Highlands!
540-677-3313 or 1-800-874-3313 (for reservations)
email - mholmes@netva.com