How To Hike With Bad Knees – Hiking Tips

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So, you’re someone with a knack for hiking up on a warm sunny day, soaking up the warmth and the nature as your body energizes, but you’ve got a case of bad knees. Sucks to be in this situation, but we completely understand you. 

You must be wondering, is hiking with bad knees even possible? Well, we’re here to tell you that it definitely is. While the chronic pain in your knee doesn’t go well with excessive exertion, there are ways to alleviate the pain and enjoy your favorite activities all over again. 

In fact, in some cases, walking and hiking have even been listed as remedies to stiff muscles and sore ligaments. But, it’s best to be cautious as you progress with this activity. Here we discuss some of the ways you can continue your hiking journey without giving it up completely.  

Before we dive in, it’s important to clarify that while we’re giving you our advice on the topic, you should consult a professional to avoid putting unwanted stress on your body or causing an injury. Follow through with these steps only under medical discretion. 

Warm Up Is Key!

How to combat hiking knee pain? Well, the first and foremost step should be making sure that you’ve warmed up your body perfectly. This means that you shouldn’t make the mistake of exerting your body without an initial warm-up. 

A warm-up helps prevent you from potential injuries and gives your body the chance to prepare itself for the hike ahead. A pinched nerve can end up in massive pain and aches if it isn’t accommodated accordingly.  

Stretching out your muscles and preparing them is crucial if you’re someone with knee problems. You can warm up your body with gentle exercises that increase the heart rate and engage the blood flow towards the relevant muscle. This can also help to loosen up stiff joints and other body parts to reduce the risk of injuring yourself. 

Invest In The Right Shoes

Another common mistake people make while hiking is wearing the wrong shoe. Not many are aware but wearing the wrong shoe can have lasting impacts on the integrity of your knees as well as the quality of your exercise. 

So, what does a good hiking shoe look like? Well, it has a thick and stable sole that accommodates you in terms of comfort and stability. They can effectively transfer your body load while maintaining a sturdy grip onto the ground surface. 

Read more: Best Hiking Boots Under 100

Additionally, you should also cater to your feet’s shape and any other conditions you may have, such as a flat foot or a more extensive toe base. It’s always best to try and test out as many shoe stores as you can before dicing on a shoe. Some stores even carry specially engineered hiking shoes, which can help in making your hiking experience comfortable on your knees and get rid of the hiking knee pain. 

Knee Braces are Your Best Friend

Knee braces are a great way to alleviate your pain if you’re hiking with bad knees. They come in all different shapes and sizes, and you can select the perfect material for yourself, such as elastic, foam, plastic, and even some metal braces are available. 

Multiple kinds of knee braces effectively work to provide different functions. Those functions are rehabilitative in nature. They can assist and support the knee while providing ample resistance to isolate the pain and effectively minimize the muscles’ inflammation. 

So, just like choosing the perfect shoe, it’s essential to get yourself the perfect knee brace as well. Wearing the right knee brace is vital in catering to your situation and reducing the pain and inflammation that may be caused. 

Walking Poles are great help

Another great tool to assist your hiking is walking poles. While most people are skeptical of the benefits they can provide, studies have shown that using them when hiking on challenging terrains can minimize the amount of exertion one may have after extensive trekking.

So, how do these poles assist you in your journey? Well, think of the poles as an extra set of legs. They help to distribute the load across from your body to the pole, which in turn takes off the load concentration from your knees. 

Additionally, these waking poles are useful in maintaining stability and balancing yourself across the changing terrain. This in turn supports your knees in maintaining a steady load while making your way up and down the extensive terrain, reducing hiking knee pain effectively. 

Lightweight Backpacks for the win

Another life saving tip would be to pack light or invest in a lightweight backpack. Most of the time, hikers are unaware of the effect that heavy backpacks can have on their legs and joints. The extra weight can negatively impact your back as well as your hips and knees. 

Read more: How Much Weight Should You Carry Backpacking

In this situation, the best course of action is to invest in lightweight backpacks that are structural and sturdy in their material but do not cause extra weight to lay on top of you. This can easily lift off the weight from your knees and ensure that you have a more comfortable hiking experience. 

Ointments save the day 

It is always better to be cautious when packing for a hiking trip. Always keep your ointments with you to help soothe and relax the muscle strain and help you carry on with a beautiful hiking experience. 

Ensure that the medication you’re using has been professionally prescribed and do not go for ointments based on recommendations. Hiking with bad knees can be tiresome, but with the right stuff in your backpack, you can quickly treat yourself on the go. 


Hiking with bad knees may seem like a hindrance and a pain, but in reality, when there is a will, there is away. Keep on going with your hiking dreams and with the right equipment and strategic exertion, you’ll be able to enjoy hiking just as anyone else would. You can quickly alleviate your hiking knee pain in no time with our tips and tricks. Good luck on your journey, and happy hiking! 

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