During sport activity, knee proprioception might worsen. This decrease in proprioceptive acuity negatively influences motor control and therefore may increase injury risk. Hiking is a common activity characterized by a higher-intensity-exercise phase during uphill walking and a lower-intensity-exercise phase during downhill walking. Pain and injuries are reported in hiking, especially during the downhill phase.
To examine the effect of a hiking-fatigue protocol on joint-position sense.
University research laboratory.
24 nonprofessional sportswomen without knee injuries.
Main Outcome Measures:
Joint-position sense was tested at the beginning, after 30 min uphill walking, and after 30 min downhill walking on a treadmill (continuous protocol).
After downhill walking, joint-position sense was significantly worse than in the test at the beginning (P = .035, α = .05). After uphill walking, no differences were observed in comparison with the test at the beginning (P = .172, α = .05) or the test after downhill walking (P = .165, α = .05).
Downhill walking causes impairment in knee-joint-position sense. Considering these results, injury-prevention protocols for hiking should focus on maintaining and improving knee proprioception during the descending phase.