Joints

Being a Colorado blogger I think joints are very important. No, not those joints! I’m a hiking blogger not a “green” blogger. In hiking you are only as good as your legs. You can only go as far as they take you. The science behind the joints is impressive. The foot is comprised of 33 joints, the ankle and knee are hinged synovial joints, and the hip is a ball and socket. But I am a blogger and not a doctor. So I thought I would compare the joints used in hiking to dogs because it is much more fun than science!

The Foot aka the Bulldog

The foot of a hiker needs to be strong and reactive. From grass, to streams, to mountains you never know exactly what you will be stepping on. The foot isn’t the smartest part of the leg but it definitely is the most loyal. It will power through almost any situation just to make its owner happy. Stubbing the toes on a rock is akin to a bulldog using its nose push an obstacle. The bulldog does not quit, it just keeps plodding forward. At the end of the hike the foot is ready to take off it’s collar and lay down and take about a twenty hour nap.

The Knee aka the Husky

The knee is the workhorse of the leg on a hike. It wants to work and spends most of it’s time with its head down and pulling as hard as it can. It can move endlessly and sometimes moves so fast that it has to fall and roll down a hill. No matter how much weight you load up with, the knees, like the husky, will do its best to get from point A to point B. Although it does seem to work better, if not harder, with a lighter load. The knee can also cry and whine. This usually occurs when there isn’t work to be done and they get stuck sitting in a chair all day. Knee’s hate to be bored.

Me in a squat and testing the joints of my knees.
My knees took about 5 hours to recover from this position.

The Hip aka the Great Dane

The lumbering giant of the leg, the hip doesn’t seem to be moving much but covers a ton of ground based entirely on size. Unlike the Great Dane, the hips don’t lie. (seriously Danes love their naps) While the rest of the leg has to put forth a ton of effort, the hip will mosey along but still keep pace. When you need a big step up the hip is quick to respond. Like the Great Dane, the hip isn’t known as the first to bark but if you make it angry it’s bark will be the loudest of all.

The Ankle aka the Chihuahua

While all of the other parts of the leg seem to be tireless workers with a goal of keeping the owner happy, the ankle is a very opinionated joint with delusions of grandeur. When the the ankle pitches to the left by a degree or rolls to the right by a percentage point the ankle proceeds to send a high pitched yelp throughout the leg. The pain is as disproportionate as the volume of the bark of the ironically called “ankle biters”. Unlike the hip which takes a beating before the bark, the ankle Chihuahua will bark at slight breeze.

Sitting by a lake with my ankles crossed.  It is important to give the joints a break every now and then.
Giving the dogs a break by the lake

By sheer complaint, the ankle becomes the alpha dog of the leg. When the ankle gets angry and banshee’s out its high pitched scream the rest of the dogs take notice. Stepping on a single pebble which makes the ankle turn in the slightest can trigger a shriek. After the shriek, the stubborn bulldog ignores the warning and continues forward. Meanwhile the husky, alarmed by a cry louder than it’s own, tries to run in the opposite direction making the leg buckle. And finally the Dane with its gangly long limbs and not knowing which way the others are going just tries to sit down and wait for the rest to make up their mind…or maybe take a nap.

Rocky Mountain Joints

While the joints in the leg are a magical combination of tendons, ligaments, muscle and bone, the different mindsets make just standing on rocky surfaces a challenge. While most of the joints do their best to function, the crazy ankle with small dog syndrome is the one that decides the hikers fate. The twists and turns of mountain hiking have the ankle in a constant state of near sprain. Even the flat surfaces aren’t really flat. Always with a slight tilt to the them which the ankle will remind you of on a constant basis.

It is only when the ankle bends past its very limited tolerance that the protests become a full out worker strike. Collectively, the ankle will give way and allow its bigger and much better siblings to pick up the slack. The ankle doesn’t even need any provocation to just stop working. Nothing like walking on a flat road and having the ankle bark because you haven’t paid attention to it in a few minutes.

I’m not saying that I dislike this small yappy joint. The ankles, like Chihuahua, serve a very specific purpose. Just like a blogger though they mostly like to whine and complain even if some of what they do and say make your day and your hike slightly better.

More from the Fatman

If you enjoyed this post you may enjoy more of the posts on my Fatman’s Rambling page. Blogs such as “Hiking Alone not Lonely Hiking“, “To Pee or Not to Pee” and “Screw it, I’m Trying” as well as many others may interest you there. If you have any comments or topics you would like me to cover, feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. Or you can keep the conversation going by following me on any of the below social media platforms.

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