Two munros = two knackered knees
by Shug » Mon May 19, 2014 10:13 am
Route description: Ben Lawers and Beinn Ghlas
Munros included on this walk: Beinn Ghlas, Ben Lawers
Date walked: 17/05/2014
Time taken: 4.5 hours
Ascent: 968mRegister or Login free to be able to rate and comment on reports (as well as access 1:25000 mapping).
Of the last couple munros I've been up, I've suffered on the way down with a dodgy left knee. Worked out roughly how far I got before it bothered me, and decided ben lawers was within the distance so I should be ok.
Set off with left knee suitably strapped up.
I did take a couple photos, but to save me uploading them, just find the greyest object nearby, and stare at it till you see nothing but grey. That pretty much covers the view for the entire day. And rain. Lots and lots of rain.
Path up over ben ghlas to ben lawers is pretty easy to follow and well maintained. Theres even little signs pointing the way, with the exception of where the path splits by ben ghlas. (right to go up ben ghlas, left to go on bypass path round it where it joins path again to go up ben lawers)
Got to the summit of ben ghlas in little over an hour. Saw a couple folk. Kept thinking I'd reached the summit every time I found a flat bit of ground with a cairn (visibility so poor couldnt see the mountain still rising in distance.)
By the fourth cairn, it seemed I was actually at the top.
Walking along the ridge there was snow patches, some on path which I skirted round, given they merged nicely with the dismal grey surrounding me.
The views from the ridge to the surrounding mountains is stunning. Probably, all I saw was, you guessed it, grey cloud and rain.
Got to the top of ben lawers where I found a walking pole basket wedged in the trig point which nicely replaced the one I lost on the peat bogs of Sgurr Breac.
Had lunch sheltered behind the cairn before deciding to make my way back to the car. 2 hours to top including lunch. Pretty good going I thought. Left knee was doing fine.
Then my right knee decided to descend into fiery fits of agony with every downward step. Didnt take long for my left knee to join the party (ibuprofen did nothing). One guy in a group (seemed to have the air of a mountain guide about him) stopped and kindly asked if I was ok and offered to hang back with me.
I assured him I'd be fine, just a bit slower. Side stepping and walking backwards down the steeper slopes and steps seemed to ease things a little. decided on the bypass path rather than tackle a steeper descent over ben ghlas.
Nice big patch of snow gave me the opportunity to slide down a steep slope on my arse rather than endure the pain.
2 1/2 hours after leaving the summit, I made it back to the car with a combination of walking backwards, sideways and generally waddling like I'd pooped myself.
4 1/2 hours in total seemed a pretty good time given my dodgy knees.
Back at the car I discovered I hadn't closed my pocket zip properly and my car key was full of water. Remote ceased to work, but luckily the car still started.
Back home for a hot bath, a nice big bruichladdich and ordered takeaway and contemplated how much a physio is going to cost me if I ever want to climb another mountain again.
( I suspect its inflammation of bursal sack caused by illiotal band, but damned if I know how to sort it, hence the physio visit)
by Hill-loving lady » Mon May 19, 2014 7:12 pm
Have problems with my right knee, illiotibial band syndrome treatment (ie stretches etc) did nothing to help. Ended up with MRI scan, and told at aged 46 I would need a new knee, when I'm 55 the NHS will consider it as it was only sore on the descents of the hills, which I could of course choose not to go up in the first place!!!
So, I bought walking poles, but only use one cos two makes me feel I should have a giant ball of wool and start knitting something - one does the trick tbh, especially on rough descents. My confidence is boosted, knowing that if the knee gives way, my pole will support me. I'm still slow on the descents, but decided to get out as much as possible and build up the muscle strength around the knee, to keep doing the stretches and just hope it doesn't get any worse.
So far so good, and I can cope with extended walks (Biggest was 36km on Saturday) with no problems. So don't give in, build up the strength, do the stretches recommended by the physio and if you don't already have one, buy a walking pole.
by bar72 » Mon May 19, 2014 7:16 pm
i spoke to my father about it (who is 71 and done 22 years consecutive ben nevis hill runs) and he suggested "not to twist" you legs and keep foot straight ahead, in line with my hip, when sidestepping down steep descents. i tried this on a 14 mile circuit at the weekend and i can safely say that my knee is not giving me any bother tonight.
may be worth trying a shorter run and give it a try?
by Shug » Tue May 20, 2014 9:34 am
Sgurr breac was very painful to descend off (took near 2 hours longer than I anticipated) hence why I strapped up the knee for Ben Lawers.
Sadly none of that seems to have helped so off to the physio. Heres hoping they have the right magic wand in stock. While there can be many causes of it, apparently weak gluteals or hip abductors can commonly be to blame, and I do sit at a desk all day during the week.
by Sick Kid » Tue May 20, 2014 7:17 pm
Both my knees a jiggered and as most people with bad knees will tell you, descents are a killer!!!
Had physio who gave me exercises to strengthen my hips, gluts and quads and it definitely helped, I also use 2 poles at all times. I still get pain but with the help of some painkillers it's bearable and doesn't stop me getting out on the hills. I do suffer more with the big backpacking rucksack on but my good buddy becomes a bit like a pack horse on those trips now and takes the majority of our gear
Good luck with physio and hope you continue to enjoy the hills
by spiderwebb » Tue May 20, 2014 8:31 pm
by londonwalker » Sat May 31, 2014 4:12 pm
by Shug » Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:27 am
bar72 wrote: spoke to my father about it (who is 71 and done 22 years consecutive ben nevis hill runs) and he suggested "not to twist" you legs and keep foot straight ahead, in line with my hip, when sidestepping down steep descents. i tried this on a 14 mile circuit at the weekend and i can safely say that my knee is not giving me any bother tonight.
Your father is a wise man
Just back from a week n bit in spain, and did a spot of walking in the Picos de Europa. First day in spain did a coastal walk and started to feel the knee twinge. Remembered your post about keeping foot straight, and noticed that when I walked my knee was 'rolling' out the way a little. Keeping my feet in line and making sure my knees stayed in line pretty much eliminated any pain.
Couple days later did a 24km walk with no problems.
Still not been to a physio but I'll wait n see how I get on, on a munro first (paths in spain were a bit better than the average scottish hill!)
Other muscles started to hurt from exertion but changing the way I walk would do that. Knees stayed strong and healthy as long as I remembered to walk the right way.
by bar72 » Sat Jun 21, 2014 9:06 pm
by Shug » Tue Aug 12, 2014 1:01 pm
Quinag, Ben Stack, Arkle, Foinaven and the steps down to Smoo cave all conquered without the slightest twinge.
I owe yer dad a dram I think bar72