Updated: Aug 22, 2021
Knee pain is the number one hiker's complaint. If you’ve got dodgy, wobbly, or just plain shot knees, you don’t want to make these common mistakes!
1. Associate symptoms with pathology: Your knees don’t hurt just because an X-ray shows age-related joint deterioration. Sixty percent of people with age-related joint degeneration don’t experience any pain at all! A consistent strengthening program is proven to be as good as medication in alleviating arthritis-related knee pain. Therefore, it stands to reason that your knees may hurt because your muscles aren’t supporting the joint as they should, and the joint is bearing a greater load than it can tolerate.
2. Keep doing the thing that causes pain: Your body is sending you a signal that the load you’re placing on it is beyond the tolerance capacity of the aggravated joint. Therefore, you need to modify the load to stay within the joint’s tolerance level and start strengthening the tissue around it to improve it’s capacity.
3. Rely on passive strategies to help the problem: Straps, braces, insoles, orthotics, special shoes, taping, and chanting to the moon won’t fix your problem. They might help alleviate the symptoms, but this is usually by transferring the forces to other structures. Sometimes passive strategies create more problems than they fix. They also set you up for psychological reliance on an external device. What happens when you forget your brace at home or your tape comes off?
4. Become impatient: While you want to get back on the trail as quickly as possible, pushing yourself or abandoning your program too early sets you up for reinjury. Keep your eye on the long-term prize – becoming a healthy hiker so that you can hike for years to come!
Hiring a hiking coach can help you avoid these mistakes and get you back on the trail as quickly as possible. A professional who understands rehabilitation and strengthening principles and the demands of hiking helps you train with specificity and efficiency. A customized program takes your current fitness level and ability into consideration and guides your progress. If you want to hike with less knee pain, contact me to schedule a free consultation!