Knee problems are the plague in nearly any field of human powered recreation. It doesn’t matter what your age, or how perfect your workouts are. Genetics intrudes, as does the fact that human knees could be better designed.
You can indeed swap in a a pair of new knee joints, but that’s an extreme solution that most folks probably hold off on till things get really bad. In the interim, if you do have knee problems you should at the least be doing a series of special knee exercises specific to your condition, keeping your body weight down, and cross-training enough to avoid repetitive motion problems.
Beyond that, perhaps a knee unloading tight could help, such as those built by Opedix. I reviewed these last winter, so consider this an update.
|Opedix knee support tights.|
I’ve been using Opedix tights for two ski seasons now, mostly for anticipated bigger “knee banging” days such as resort skiing or snowmobile access expeditions that involve lots of manhandling of the sled. I don’t like the look or function of tights as my main outside leg layer, so I use the Opedix under side zip pants or sometimes under a more baggy softshell pant. In that configuration they’re too warm for spring skiing, so they’re out for that. But otherwise I’ve found they do work as advertised (when used correctly), and thus do keep the knees feeling better as well as providing some muscle compression and support.
As stated in my review last winter, for the Opedix to work they need to be securely anchored at your hips, and depending on how your legs are shaped, may need additional anchoring at the feet as well.
Last year’s tights were a bit short in the waist, making them feel like they were always riding down over my rear, thus requiring constant repositioning that resembled some geezer hitching up his trow (only thing missing for the full effect was the smoking pipe). This year’s Opedix have a bit of added height, so they’re easier to cinch above the hip bones and achieve the required anchoring. Even so, with my skinny rear I still really need suspenders to keep the Opedix working correctly throughout the day — without fumbling with my waistline.
At the feet, Opedix provide fabric tabs (on the model designed for skiers) that are intended to somehow anchor the tights in your ski boots. I found these tabs to be less than ideal (any anchoring effect doesn’t last, and who wants to just stuff a hunk of fabric in their ski boots?) Instead, it seems to me that providing a foot stirrup on the tights would be an easy and effective solution.
At any rate, Opedix tights are worth looking into if you have anything going on with your knees. Just figure you’ll still need suspenders if you’ve got a diminutive derriere — and want to avoid the dreaded “geezer effect.”
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.