>Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone

>In an effort to get some training in for Peru, I joined two fellow trekkers for a walk in the Chilterns, an area of “outstanding natural beauty”. It was rated as seven out of 10 in difficulty, about 20km and 5 hours of walking. No problem, I thought.

First the good news: I was not noticeably less fit than either of my counterparts. In parts after steep uphill climbs where I’d be feeling a little warm and out of breath, they seemed to mirror my own reactions — and most importantly, it didn’t take me long to recover. Heart and lungs seem to be in excellent working order.

Continuing the good news theme, my hiking boots are incredibly comfortable and there was not even a hint of a blister or rubbing all day. An excellent buy there, and I think we can safely say they are broken in.

The bad news is I am in pain. Somewhere along the way the steep downhill descents must have proved too much for my knees — and if you hadn’t guessed by the fact I am updating in the middle of the day, I am home from work sick today as I can barely stand up. Completing the walk yesterday was very difficult and painful as my knee became stiffer and more unyielding. The doctor has told me today I have strained the ligaments, and I need to rest it. I can also put an ice pack on it twice a day and take anti-inflammatory drugs three times a day. It’s a good job I have a stash of the latter in the cupboard.

My research on the internet tells me this kind of thing is quite common, and unsurprisingly associated with steep downhill descents. I was probably going too quickly. For Peru, if not before, I will need walking poles and a knee support — and I think a small supply of medication in my luggage.

It’s frustrating, I want to be out walking and training in the gym, and right now I can’t do either. But I’ll crawl the Inca trail on my hands and knees if I have to.

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