i got to use my trekking poles on a longer trip than an overnighter finally, and by halfway through the second day my elbows were killing me. i had been using them the entire trip giving my elbows no rest but it was so helpful. is this common or am i doing something wrong? thanks!
I just went on my first backpacking trip which was 4 days long, absolutely had a blast. But as to your question I did use a trekking pole and had my elbow at about 90 degrees and had no pain throughout the trip.
I started using one pole myself over a year ago, and I found I had to experiment with different lengths until I got it right. I'd say some initial discomfort is common. Plus, you're making your body do something it's not used to yet; I get the same thing when I try new martial arts moves, and the body gets used to it through good technique and training.
I use hiking staffs. I had access to a doweling machine, and the staffs I ended up with were 1 1/16 diameter, and 5' long. . At no time are my forearms below 'horizontal' with the trail, and most of the time they are slightly up, allowing some continuous tension on the muscle group. . These also allow me to slip the poles through my hands for the poles to rest on a lower surface than the one I am walking on, like I would be alongside a wash. I believe this is more advantageous than leaning over using trekking poles/