Knee problems - have to give up the Laser??

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Girlygirl, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Girlygirl

    Girlygirl New Member

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    Hi,
    ...my body is reminding me lately that I am 40 and not 14, hence my question to others out there who may have crossed the threshold:

    is it possible to sail a Laser with knee problems, or do I have to face the reality, sell my little baby and succumb to a keelboat (please, please noooooo)??? I generally sail in Bf 3 - 5 conditions on the sea.

    p.s. naturally I am seeing a physician about the issue (who's idea of "sailing" is sipping some white wine on a yacht tied to the jetty in 80F :D ), so just looking for your real-life experiences in this matter

    Thanks
     
  2. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Girlygirl, I got my Laser as my semi-Centennial present, a sort of "I will not go down without a fight" toy.

    I've had knee problems in the past. I cannot exercise by running because of the swelling and pain the next day. That started when I was 35. I cycle, row, or swim without too much trouble. I also can't do leg extensions on a weight machine. There is this terrible crackling sound and immediate pain; however, I can straight leg hike with no problem. Go figure.

    I've found it's very important to do thigh and hamstring stretches. If I don't do them my knee cap swells up. You can't get away with forgetting those when you get older. It's also important to keep your kneecap in place. I know that sounds whacky, but if it is offtrack when you bend it, it will be excruciating with later pain and swelling. Some exercises cause the kneecap to want to pull offtrack to the outside of your leg. You want to keep it pulled in. You can do this just by concentrating on pulling it to the medial (inside) of your leg a dozen repetitions everyday. Also, it's most important to keep your feet a little pointed in or at least parallel when you hike. This causes you to use the muscles correctly to keep the kneecap in place.

    I hope you have many years of Laser sailing ahead of you! Good luck.

    Merrily
     
  3. snipeguy

    snipeguy New Member

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    I've got chrondomalatia patella, which is a fancy medical term for bad knees. I use neoprene braces in heavy air. Also, like Merrily, I find that keeping in shape and good technique are imperative. My knees still ache the next day but then again everything aches at this stage of my life. For me the fun outweighs the pain.

    If you get a lot of swelling, orthoscopic surgery could be an option.
     
  4. chrisfsi

    chrisfsi New Member

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    Don't know about the knees, but the guy who wins most of the the Laser races at my clubs is closer to 60 than 50, and beats us 40 somethings (and the thirty somethings for that matter..) without breaking sweat...

    And there are 2 windsurfers (sailboarders) who also compete, going round the same course as the dinghies, who won't be seeing 60 again. As long as you can keep fit, it's all in the mind...
     
  5. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    There's a man without knee problems!

    Merrily
     
  6. Turin Gray

    Turin Gray New Member

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    No Knee problems here, but both sholders are suffering from years of abuse. The day after big winds I can't move. Maybe heading for the knife before the start of this season.

    Suffering at -21C

    JAG
     
  7. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    Yikes!!!

    Merrily
     
  8. chrisfsi

    chrisfsi New Member

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    Realise my reply sounded highly unsympathetic - I meant to say AGE is all in the mind - knees most definitely aren't... (Although I guess it depends on where your mind is;) ...)

    In fact, I have scoliosis (curvature of the spine) which use to give me lots of grief after a heavy days's hiking. But I went to see a good physiotherapist who gave me some very condition-specific exercises to do, which I've supplemented with general gym strength work, and that's helped ENORMOUSLY. Apart from hauling the boat up the beach (which is a right pain in the.....back), the sailing itself gives me almost no problems.

    So that's my recommendation, Girlygirl - ignore the age bit, and see a good Physio! Good luck....
     
  9. Chris123

    Chris123 New Member

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    http://www.roostersailing.com/articles/Hiking_Style.html

    Check out this article by Steve Cockerill and Fiona Taylor

    Nice explanation of the physics involved. In a nutshell: In straight-leg hiking (really straight - no cheating) your quads do all the work (ouch!) and the ligaments, tendons, cartilege etc in your knee bears very little abuse. When you let your knees bend and your butt droop, your legs feel much happier, but now the inner workings of your knee are taking the weight.

    Your quads are muscles -- they're designed to work, that which does not kill them makes them stronger, etc. Your ligaments, bones, cartilege etc on the other hand are pretty much passive systems, hard use wears them out.
     
  10. Girlygirl

    Girlygirl New Member

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    Hey thanks everyone for your advice! It has lifted my spirits going into the weekend.
    Sunny skies and Bf 4 are waiting...ok, ok...along with freezing temps, but hey, nothing that a drysuit can't solve.:D
     

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