Hiking Knee Pain Causes and Treatment

Whether you have a grand plan to scale all 53 of Colorado’s fourteeners or just casually explore the trails close to your home, many hikers struggle with knee pain after an outing. While hiking down inclines may be the source of pain, hikers may not need to stick to flat treks to avoid pain, as many strategies help in preventing hiking knee pain.

A hiker’s knees may absorb shocks up to eight times their body weight when hiking downhill, according to Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy, so even minor alterations to your habits can reduce post-hike pain.

Pack Lighter

The heavier the pack, the more force is put on the knees when you head downhill. Stick to essentials rather than luxuries – wireless speakers, cookstoves, unnecessary clothing – and cut down the impact the knees absorb with each step.

Use Trek Poles

Trek poles transfer some of the impacts of each step into shoulders, helping to alleviate the stress on the knees by up to 25 percent, according to a study by the Journal of Sport Sciences. Titanium-tipped trek poles won’t just save knees and provide stability on rocky stretches: They frequently improve hikers’ speed.

Check Your Boots

Just like running shoes, good hiking boots are designed to absorb and redistribute some of the shocks of each step. Many times, hiking boots still look presentable long after their functional benefits have deteriorated, so rotate boots frequently.


A knee brace or taped support can be a temporary solution to knee problems. While helping ward off hiking knee pain, it’s important to determine the underlying root of your problem with a doctor.

Stay In Control

Bounding down inclines can be fun, but it only amplifies the forces that cause knee pain. Take short, bouncing strides, focusing on the precision of each step rather than length and speed. A good downhill stride takes advantage of momentum without losing control.

Hiking knee pain is preventable in many cases. If changing habits doesn’t alleviate pain, hikers may need to visit with a doctor to determine therapy or treatment options. Our staff is experienced treating knee injuries and sports-related injuries. Fill out an appointment request to schedule your appointment.

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