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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Protecting knees in rapier fencing Reply to topic
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E Stafford

PostPosted: Sun 09 Nov, 2008 5:54 pm    Post subject: Protecting knees in rapier fencing         Reply with quote

Hello. I have a quick question. Does sport/rapier fencing have a problem with knee injuries, other than turning it out when you lunge (obviously bad), or is it safe on that particular joint? Mine have been hurting the past few weeks, off and on, and it's kinda got me spooked. Thanks. Edwin.
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Steven Reich

Location: Arlington, VA
Joined: 28 Oct 2003

Posts: 237

PostPosted: Sun 09 Nov, 2008 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The answer to this question is contingent upon three or four major elements:

First, is your form/technique correct? As you said, when you lunge, your forward foot and knee must remain pointed directly forward. In addition, your knee must not go farther forward than your toes (i.e. so your lower leg should be close to vertical). Additionally, your rear knee should point in the same direction as your rear toes. Failing to do this will result in lateral stress and torsion on your rear knee.

Second, are you overweight? Any problems you have with your knees will be increased if they must bear more weight and absorb a larger shock.

Third, are you physically active with respect to your legs--i.e. do you regularly engage in physical activity that significantly involves your legs (although if you already do a lot of this, adding fencing might create problems that didn't exist, depending on age, weight, and fitness level).

Finally, are you old or young? Our joints just can't handle as much when we are older and if you overdo it based on the points above, you will likely run into problems

Carefully review and consider all of these points and they might help you figure out the answers to your question. Note that in the long term, poor technique can absolutely destroy your knees, so spend the necessary time on it.


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Darryl Aoki

Joined: 12 Oct 2006

Posts: 93

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2008 5:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In my experience, not really. I think Steven covered most (if not all) of the relevant issues regarding body mechanics though.
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Jim Mearkle

Location: Colonie, NY
Joined: 20 Mar 2004
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 113

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2008 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

One more thing - do you have any prior knee injuries? Improper form or overuse (too much, too soon) can aggravate a pre-existing condition.
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Stirling Matheson

Joined: 12 Jan 2007

Posts: 36

PostPosted: Mon 10 Nov, 2008 7:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Also, diet could be a factor.

If you are working your knees, they need to be padded, lubricated, and have raw materials available for repair. Good kinds of fats cover the first two and proteins are needed for repair of any tissue.

I know a few people who have taken great pains to have a low fat diet, and have thusly had problems due to fat deficiencies.

Fac et Spera
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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
Joined: 15 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Nov, 2008 2:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

When I first started out doing longsword moving laterally sort of lightly stressed one knee but it was mostly just not being used to the movement and my foot slipping an inch or so that surprised me. ( The feeling was light pain on the side and back of the knee with little pain but with a feeling of instability in the knee ...... took about 2 to 3 weeks to go away and hasn't recurred since after close to two years of training ).

I think that if you are new to this or any activity you can have muscles that need to adapt to the specific moves even if you are in shape generally.

Not that you should ignore the problem if it gets worse or doesn't seem to want to go away: You do have to give it time to recover and not expect to " work it out " since one can make a minor problem a lot worse if you don't give yourself time to recover fully before continuing straining the limp or joint.

All the other advice in the posts above are also very good and mine is just an added possibility.

Good warm up exercises before training might help prevent recurrence assuming again that the problem is minor !

The right or wrong shoes might be the answer or one possible cause to the problem ? Obviously have it checked out medically to be sure there is nothing seriously wrong before you do some serious or permanent damage.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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