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Re: [pct-l] Re-introduction

>>Did anyone else suffer from sore knees after his/her thruhike?  I can walk on
flat ground but jogging and/or uphill or downhill walking is still too
painful.  How long until the soreness goes away?<<

I've experienced this, esp. after my time on the AT in '96. I attribute the
pain to a too-heavy load and a nutritional deficit, rather than to the
hiking itself.  Since those days my loads have decreased to more manageable
portions and my nutrition on-trail has improved; post-hike pains are now
thankfully few. I figure the reason the pain emerges, or worsens, after the
hike has to do with the body's recovery mechanisms. The damage accrues
during the journey, but because of the constant demands being placed on
the body, recovery has to wait until we take a time-out or head home. Like
trying to treat an open wound by covering it with a band-aid, we hike on
ignoring the injury, only to return home, remove the band-aid, and find
the wound still painful to touch. In my case, the damage wasn't too serious
and the pain went away in a few weeks. It would usually bother me most when
climbing stairs or walking downhill/uphill. And interestingly, it felt
somewhat therapeutic to get out and do some gentle exercise, perhaps because
of the increased blood flow and endorphin response (which may be what helped
to mask the pain during the journey). 

Both on the hikes and at home I now take glucosamine supplements, which aid
in joint/cartilage regeneration. Sometimes you can find glucosamine with
MSM (methyl sulfunylmethane), which is supposedly a more potent mix. But I
find that either one makes a noticeable difference, when taken over a period
of weeks. My knees have made grinding noises for a number of years, but
now this isn't nearly so bad anymore. A calcium/magnesium supplement might
be another idea. I've heard it's a good idea to take these together, in a
3-1 ratio cal to mag. I also mega dose on vitamin C (mineral ascorbate form)
and drink plenty of water!

Congrats on your thru-hike accomplishment. I wasn't too far behind you
until Bishop Pass, where my hike came to a planned end for the season.
- Blister>
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