How To Avoid Knee Pain While Hiking
Knee pains are common occurrences while hiking. Most terrains are too rugged and hence predispose the hikers to the risks of knee problems. Other than that, most hikers are never used to hiking in the first place. That is why they easily inflict injuries to their knees while hiking.
This should never be the case though. It is indeed possible to get round such a problem. This requires you to adhere to some laid down set of rules and strategies. These form the central themes of the discussions that follow.
How To Avoid Knee Pain While Hiking
Wear Quality Hiking Shoes or Boots
This is perhaps the most significant of all the intervention measures. You should wear high-quality hiking shoes or boots. Such shoes by their design and nature are able to absorb shocks, strong impacts, and offer the needed levels of stability. They will minimize the impacts that your knees are more likely to experience while you are hiking. This, in turn, will shield you from the accompanying knee problems.
Hike Slowly Downhill
While hiking downhill, do so slowly. The downhill terrains are often slippery and more likely to tip you off. Take one step at a time at all times. Follow the existing footprints as they are the most trusted. Grab the adjacent twigs and other branches to help you slow down. You may also wish to carry with you extra load. This will serve to slow you down further and contribute to a safer travel.
Do not leap
Avoid jumping or leaping downhill as this could worsen an already volatile situation. In case you do so, you will increase the pace of fall due to the influence of gravity. This will make you travel faster than you may be able to effectively control. Other than that, you just never know the dangers that may await you ahead. You may accidentally step on a slippery surface which may further endanger your knees.
Strengthen your Leg Muscles
Muscles expand and contract periodically as you hike. In case you are not used to hiking or haven’t hiked for quite some time, consider strengthening your muscles before embarking on such an undertaking. This is to prevent you from contracting muscle cramps and knee pains. Strengthening your muscles also add strength to your knees. This makes your knees well able to handle strong impacts and stressful situations effectively. As such, it prevents you from injuring your knees.
Stretch your Legs and Knees
Other than strengthening your muscles, you should also stretch your legs and knees moments before and after hiking. Stretching those two body parts will give them the ‘psychological preparation’ they need to perform optimally while hiking. Doing so after a hike or during the brief intermittent rests also prevent muscle cramps and the associated knee injuries. This is not to mention the fact that you will enhance the flow of blood to the said areas.
Use Hiking Poles
While negotiating extremely steep slopes, tight corners, and rocky terrains, you, by all means, require a hiking pole. This is a long, strong, and light pole that offers you added support. Strike this pole at strategic locations along your path and use it to support you. This way, you will minimize the likelihood of injuring your knees and other vital parts of your body. This pole will also prevent you from falling off on slippery grounds.
Hike Fewer Miles at a Time
In most cases, hikers do trip and fall off due to exhaustion. In light of this, you are advised to hike only a few miles at a time. Take some rests in between before proceeding with the rest of the journey. This way, you will prevent yourself from getting too exhausted as to fall off. This intern has the impact of preventing you from sustaining knee injuries.
Wear Knee Braces
Even if you take all the aforementioned precautions, chances are that you will still trip and fall off. This means that to some extent knee injuries while hiking is inevitable. This is why the knee braces come in handy. These are special kinds of protective gears that are worn on the knees. They shield your knees from sustaining further injuries or fractures in the unlikely situation that you trip off.
Opt for a Lighter Backpack
A lighter backpack will less likely exert too much stress on you. This will, in turn, lead to less pressure on your knees while hiking. With less pressure comes with it less likelihood of injuring your knees. Other than a lighter backpack, you should also carry as little weight as possible.
Seek Medical Help
Do not forget to seek medical help after a hiking session, regardless of whether you injure your knees or not. It pays to go for a general check-up just to be sure that all is well. Such a step is also necessary to avoid worse problems arising in future. This is because such issues may be easily detected and mitigated in time.
Given their extremely sensitive nature, you must do what you can to shield your knees from injuries. The points we have highlighted and explained above will surely add value to you and help you prevent this problem. We, therefore, urge you to adhere to them strictly in your next hiking session. We are constantly updating our site also. We thus ask you to keep visiting this page to learn more about the latest techniques and strategies.