Knee pain problems when hiking

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 Knee pain problems especially when hiking or back packing. If you do, here are some of the things that have helped , at least temporarily, and some suggestions gleaned from doctors and other hikers who suffer from various knee problems.

1. Lay down with legs uphill or propped up on a rock. After experimenting with times, I have found that it is better to take more short breaks  rather than fewer long breaks. This is because three or fifteen minutes both seem to give only a few minutes relief once hiking is resumed.
2. Take numerous fifteen second breaks to put your leg up on a rock or tree and massage your knee. Sitting on the ground and holding your knee near your chest while massaging it works well too.
3. Longer strides sometimes help. This can only be done if the trail isn't too steep. The relief may come from the fact that the knee bends less.
4. Walk backwards. Warning: this is awkward and probably dangerous on uneven or steep terrain. Still, walking backwards gives me immediate relief. My knee problem must have to do with the way the foot is extended while bending the knee. The feet point upwards when walking backwards down an incline. I have had to walk backwards for five or ten minutes at a time just to make it down some stretches without pain.
5. Find ways to bend the knee less. This means walking funny, and you'll have to experiment to find out what works for you. This can be risky on steep loose sections of the trail. I only mention these temporary and potentially risky solutions because I have been in situations where it was walk back to the car or spend the night out unprepared.
6. Take aspirin. It not only will relieve some of the pain, but if taken before the downhill stretch starts, it may prevent some swelling that can cause knee pain. Try other pain relievers if they work better for you, but don't mask the pain too much, or you may do more damage to your knees than you realize.
7. Wear a knee brace. The neoprene ones that are sold in pharmacies may help support the knees best. You can also try wrapping your knees with an ace bandage. In an emergency, you could also try wrapping your knees with a handkerchief, socks, or other clothing.
8. Respect your limits. If you have knee pain regularly, pay attention to how many miles of steep terrain you can take before suffering. Remember this limit when planning backpacking trips, and so you'll know when you reach the halfway point on out-and-back day hikes.
9. Stretching may help, especially if done before the knees start to hurt. Don't stretch too hard - gently stretch both calves and thighs.
10. Hiking poles or a good walking stick can help take the pressure off those knees on the downhill stretches. If you cut a dead branch or small tree to use for a walking stick, make sure it is long enough (up to your armpits). A longer stick works better on the downhill stretches, where you need it the most.
11. Poorly designed hiking boots or shoes can contribute to knee problems. Try different shoes or inserts. You need to avoid excessive pronation (foot flattening). Orthotic inserts such as Superfeet in your hiking boots or shoes may help, because they can help control excessive knee motion.
12. Simply avoiding steep routes when hiking can prevent knee pain. Look at all your possible routes before setting out. Even walking an extra mile or two may make sense if it means avoiding steep downhill stretches.
13. If the trail or dirt road you are walking on is sloped at the sides, walk on the side that is opposite from the knee with the most pain. This may help for those knee pains that are caused by pronation. The outward slant of the foot can mean less pain.
14. Soaking your knees in the cold water of a stream or lake may reduce the swelling and pain. If you are hiking during winter or high in the mountains in summer, you can try using snow as well. Wrap a handkerchief or shirt around the knee and pack it full of snow.
 

While the final decision about what treatment option you use to handle your knee pain is yours, Banishing Knee Pain will run through all the treatment options open to you. Written by someone who knows, first hand, how agonizing knee problems can be - you'll get plain talk, no jargon or hype.

This no nonsense book will help you to:
All-natural treatments for knee pain

 
Understand the amazingly complex knee machinery and how it works to keep you balanced and moving.
Identify the most common knee problems and be able to treat the many uncomfortable symptoms yourself, at home, so you can do what it takes to help yourself heal.
Recognize the eight symptoms that require a visit to your doctor and what you can expect in terms of treatment.
Take steps to keep your knee problems from coming back with practical, low-impact exercise and stretching tips.
Become aware of the diet and nutritional issues that will help with healing, as well as other supplements and herbal treatments you might want to try.
Learn more about the different surgical options that could be in your future if other treatments donít help, or donít help enough

Knee Pain Help!
  When you exercise your knees, it is actually the muscles around the knee that are exercised. The bad news is that if you exercise the muscles unevenly, it can lead to more pain when hiking. The good news is that there are some simple exercises that can condition your muscles to reduce knee pain.
When the larger muscle on the inside of the leg above the kneecap  is weaker than the outer thigh muscle (vastus lateralus), it can cause a slight misalignment of the kneecap. This can cause pain. A simple solution to this is straight knee leg lifts. This balances the strength in the two muscles. The outer thigh muscle also is the braking muscle (it slows the bending of the knee), so proper conditioning can prevent knee pain that comes from going downhill.
To do straight knee leg lifts, sit on the floor. Put one leg straight out in front, keeping the other bent at the knee with your foot flat on the floor. Lift the straight leg several inches off the floor and count to five, keeping the knee straight. Lower it, rest a moment, then repeat the process four more times. Then switch to the other leg. Do this every day for a while, gradually increasing the number of repetitions and the length of time you hold each leg up.
Walking uphill can be a good knee exercise too. If you can't easily do this on a regular basis, try doing step-ups. This is just stepping up on a stair-step or anything of about that height, and then stepping back down. You should alternate which foot you lead with.
Start by doing this for several minutes several times per week. Increase the step height and the duration, and wear hiking boots if that is what you hike in. You can also start to wear a backpack while doing your repetitions (put some weight in it, of course).
Warning: Serious or continuing knee problems should be addressed by an orthopedic doctor. You may do more harm using some of the tips, depending on the type of knee problem you have.

  Key Points

1. There are different types of knee problems.
2. There are things you can do on the trail to treat knee pain.
3. Knee braces and shoe inserts can help.
4. Proper exercise and conditioning can prevent knee pain.
5. See a doctor if pain persists.