A trekker with knee problems approached me for advice. He said that every time he descended from a mountain, his knees would hurt like crazy. He had tried walking sideways and even backwards. It just didn’t work. I recommended him the toes and poles method which I find very effective.
When our feet land as we are descending, we normally land flat. Some even land on their heels. This is very bad for the knees. The stress on the knees can be reduced by landing on your toes. When you land on your toes when you’re going down, a lot of the force is borne by your calf muscle and not your knees. After the descent, your calf muscle will ache like crazy, but that’s not an issue as muscles recover much faster and better than joints.
But mountain trails are never ideal. It is difficult to balance if you land on your toes. That’s when a pair of good trekking poles come in. Use them for support as you descend on your toes. They will help you keep your balance. Don’t exert too much force or your wrists may end up hurting.