Last Updated: January 29th, 2020
Ouch! I cannot take it anymore. How to deal with hiking knee pain? Surprisingly, you are not the only one and there is a lot you need to take care of.
It is not simply having a better boot like Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped Hiking Boot or a lighter backpack like
Causes of Knee Pain
Knees and your legs carry your entire body weight. However, they are the ones who are most neglected and end up in pain.
There can be various reasons for hiker’s knee and here are some of them:
- Muscle Strains
- Cartilage Tears
- IT Band Syndrome
- Weak Glutes
- Tight Hip Flexors
- Foot Wear
- Hiking Downhill
Of these, Muscle Strain or Sprain will go away easily after some time.
However, things like Arthritis are here to stay.
So, you have to find a way to work around this problem.
Also, some hikers get this pain when hiking downhill. They need to follow special precautions.
How To Deal With Hiking Knee Pain?
Preparing Your Knees Before The Hike
As we all know:
Prevention is better than cure – Unknown
So, let’s check a couple of ways in which we can prepare our knees for a hike.
The first thing that comes to my mind is Exercise. It makes your body strong and prepares it for the upcoming hike.
Here, our focus is to strengthen the leg muscles and the muscles around our knees.
We also, have to make our knees flexible for a better range of motion.
Here are some good resources that will get you started in the right direction:
It’s not enough to strengthen the leg and knee muscles. You have to make your knees flexible as well.
This video will give you step-by-step instructions on how to stretch your knees.
Tackling Knee Pain During The Hike
1. Have a proper shoe:
The importance of having a proper shoe is underestimated. If you have a properly fitted shoe, you will save your feet from a lot of hassle which in turn will save your knees.
Choose a shoe with proper cushioning and which is lightweight.
This will absorb the impact when your feet strike the ground. This will take away the reverse force that affects the knees.
There are a lot of extremely nice boots out there. One of our
2. Reduce The Weight You Are Carrying
Orthopedic Surgeons says
1 KG increase of Weight = 10 KG pressure on your knees
So, try to make your luggage as light as possible.
This starts with
It will be cheaper than getting your knee treated by Orthopedic Surgeons.
You should start by choosing a lightweight backpack. One of the best in the market is OUTLIFE Hiking Lightweight Backpack
Then there are jackets, pants, toiletries…you get the idea.
3. Downhill Precaution
It will put a pressure equivalent to almost 8 times of your body-weight.
When you start hiking downhill, due to gravitational force, your pace is increased.
To maintain balance, you tend to hold yourself back. This puts additional stress on your knees.
Put a brake only as much required and to the minimum. If you do it too much, you will end-up injuring the knees.
4. Keep Your Leaps Minimal
When hiking, keep your leaps minimal. Landing hard on your heels will further stress out your knees.
This is especially true if you are hiking downhill. Here a
5. Use Trekking Poles
Many hikers think that a trekking pole is useless. However, if you want to protect your knees then, they are
They help you to distribute your weight evenly between the poles and your legs.
This way, your knees have to carry less burden.
However, we do understand why many people think that the poles are useless.
They break often. To avoid this, you should ideally go for carbon fiber and aluminum
They will share the load with your knees.
6. Use Knee Braces
If you have weak knees then the knee braces can stabilize them.
You have a lot of options to choose from like sleeves, support and stabilizers.
Ask your doctor, which one is best for you.
Also, if you have just recovered from a knee injury, please limit the distance of your hike.
Starting small will help you get adjusted before you can go for longer hikes.
7. Turn To Mother Nature
There are a lot of herbs that can help you with the pain during your hike.
They are natural ingredients and are less harsh on your body and will have no to minimal side effects.
Let’s check them out:
Willow Tree Tea
This tree is common on the trails and has a lot of medicinal properties, along with painkilling
The bark of the tree contains acetylsalicylic acid and helps in reducing the pain.
This is also the chief ingredient of Aspirin (aka the painkiller you get in drug stores)
Don’t know how the tree looks? Here is a picture for your reference:
Once you have identified the tree, make a cut of about 2”x 3”.
You will understand if you have done it
Then infuse it in hot water for 20 min and then sip it like tea.
Do it for a maximum of 3 times. You will get relief.
But don’t overdo it. Acetylsalicylic acid like Aspirin can give you a bleeding stomach
WARNING: They are extremely bitter
Wild lettuce also known as opium lettuce is a natural pain reliever.
It doesn’t belong to the opium
It is tall and has dandelion-like flowers. The stem secrets a milky substance once if you run your nail through it.
You can either directly consume the latex-like substance or infuse it in hot water for 20 min and sip it.
Making a tea out of it and drinking is very hard due to its bitterness.
It can quickly relieve pain and you can have it up to 3 times a day.
Burdock Root Tea
This is also very popular among the hikers.
The flowers of this plant are like balls and they stick to your pants when you walk among them
You can make tea out of its root and drink it 3 times a day.
The effect will not be as quick as above but is also effective in soothing the pain.
8. Take Some Medicines
Also, in certain situations, regular medicines will
You can use Advil, Motrin, or Aleve. However, I’m not a doctor.
Consult with your physician before purchasing any of the medicines.
Preventing Knee Pain After The Hike
After the hike, you may face swelling and knee pain. This is what you should do.
- Stretch after the hike
- Take some NSAIDs (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug)
- Foam Rolling
Still In Pain? This is what you should do…
Let’s say you have taken all the above precautions and did a good job with stretching and using herbal tea.
Still, you are facing problem. Then you can use the RICE technique. Which is Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation? You can read more about it in RICE Therapy For Knee Pain from EVERYDAY HEALTH.
However, if you are still in a lot of pain, then visit a physician immediately. He will be able to help you with your knee pain.
Over To You
What techniques you use to deal with hiker’s knee pain. Let us know in the comment section below.