The sun is starting to make a more consistent appearance in the Pacific Northwest and hiking season is about to commence. The Snoqualmie Valley is situated in ideal proximity to many beautiful hiking trails, but if you have knee pain you may be worried about being able to participate in hiking at all this season. Fear not, there are steps you can take to conquer the great outdoors and enjoy our beautiful surroundings without suffering for the rest of the week! Here are some tips that may help you enjoy hiking with less knee pain:
1. Don’t be a weekend warrior! If you have not had a very active winter season, start off with regular walks around your neighborhood to build tolerance. And it doesn’t hurt to walk Snoqualmie Parkway. Most hikes in the surrounding areas have a decent elevation gain to get out of the valley floor. Don’t expect your body and knees to be able to do that right away.
2. Use trekking poles. They are great for taking pressure off of the knees during hiking, and will be especially beneficial if you are carrying extra weight (water, snacks, etc. in a backpack). The right trekking pole should coordinate with the left foot and vice versa.
3. Check your boots. There are very comfortable hiking boots available if you have not purchased/tried on a new pair for quite a while. Get a boot that has a supportive and somewhat cushioned sole to avoid extra compressive forces to the knees.
4. Walk toe to heel, especially downhill. This technique also reduces strain to the tissues of the knee.
These are just a few suggestions to help reduce knee pain during hiking. If none of these suggestions reduce your discomfort and you continue to be affected by pain, please contact your physician or physical therapist. We wish you a healthy and enjoyable summer from Edge!