Hiking is one of the best ways to enjoy a break from the ordinary and day to day work life. It helps you exercise, clears your mind and enables you to see incredible views as you breathe the clean, fresh air from the mountaintops.
However, hiking does have its own challenges. Perhaps the most common challenge is the knee pain problem. As you go uphill, you put a lot of pressure on your knees.
Coming back downhill is even worse because the knees already received some beating when ascending, and then go through another round of battering over the uneven hill surface.
Avoiding this knee pain is crucial to keeping you fit when hiking as well as to make you enjoy the whole experience, stress-free.
Knee pain avoidance remedies can be categorized into pre-hiking knee pain remedies and in-hiking knee pain remedies.
Remedies to Avoid Knee Pain Before the Hike
Eat a Healthy Diet
Knee pain might be caused by inflammation, which is part of the body’s healing process. Inflammation can be reduced or even eliminated by eating the right kinds of food which include leafy green veggies, tomatoes, fatty fish, olive oil and a variety of fruits. Apart from reducing inflammation, a healthy diet can also help you cut on body weight. Having a lighter body reduces stress on the knees when hiking, and this also helps avoid knee pain.
Just like in eating a healthy diet, exercise helps you cut on body weight. Apart from that, it also helps you build muscles and gives the knee more flexibility around its joint.
Muscles provide more support to the knee and thus well-built leg muscles will hold the knee together through the strenuous hike.
The recommended exercises include biking, stretching the feet and squatting. Get more ideas of stretching your leg here on Lafitness Reviews. These targets the hamstring, calves and quadriceps, which are quite close to the knee. When these muscles are well built, they provide enough support to the knee to prevent occurrences of knee pain.
Remedies to Avoid Knee Pain During the Hike
Wear the Right Hiking Gear
When hiking, what you wear is crucial to the experience you will get. The most important gear, which acts as your first line of defense, are shoes. Hiking shoes or boots should fit correctly and have a decent amount of soul cushioning. Uncomfortable shoes affect your walking, which will ultimately affect your knees.
Apart from shoes, knee braces are also important for holding your knee’s weakest points. Knee braces range from sleeves, supports, and stabilizers. Choosing the best one for your knees might require a doctor’s recommendation or a personal choice based on the ones that make your knee feel held together and comfortable.
Stretch Your Muscles Just Before the Descent
After reaching the hike’s summit, take a little time to stretch your leg muscles before descending. This will help ease some pressure on the muscles so that they can provide full support to the knees when descending.
Reduce Your Backpack’s Contents
The weight you are carrying plus your body weight ultimately decide the amount of strain on your knees. Because your body weight is constant, reducing the contents of your backpack will go a long way in reducing stress on your knee joints. Things such as water can be poured out. Only the essentials should be left on the backpack.
Descending downhill puts a lot of pressure on your knee joints. Descending at a fast pace worsens this situation because gravity plays its part in compounding your weight. Therefore, descending slowly and in a zigzag fashion, especially on very steep hills, is a good remedy to avoid knee pain.
Use Hiking Poles
Hiking poles have the benefit of distributing the overall body plus backpack weight between the feet and the arms. This drastically reduces stress at the knees, preventing the occurrence of knee pains.
These preventive measures are very important. They are the very basic things that can be done to keep you going during the hike. However, not everything goes according to plan at all times. In case you get knee pains, several procedures can be done to eliminate the pain.
These include using ice, feet elevation, compression and rest. You can also apply pain relief creams and gels to soothe the pain. The best thing though is to take the preventive measures described above. Prevention is undoubtedly better than cure when hiking.
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