The Best Gear-Kits to Protect Your Knees While Hiking
There’s never any shame in relying on your gear to help you on your hiking adventure. It’s both practical & smart. Whether you are on a day hike or an overnight backpacking trip, good gear-kits can actually save your knees by knee brace from excessive stress.
Here are the top five ways to utilize gear to protect your knees while hiking:
Using trekking poles while you’re hiking can give you better stability and keep your knee and ankle joints safe on the trail. They are the #1 way to protect your knees while hiking.
PROPER FITTING HIKING BOOTS
Our feet are the foundation of almost every movement that we make. If you have improper footwear that makes you feel uncomfortable or restricted while hiking than that will certainly take a toll on your knees, hips and even the low back. It’s important to choose boots with good traction, sturdy material, and flexibility that will allow your feet a healthy range of motion to help you walk. A good rule of thumb to find out if you have properly-fitting shoes is that you can wiggle your toes.
COMPRESSION SOCKS FOR YOUR KNEES
Hiking compression socks can help with improving muscle & joint stability as well as muscle recovery. Kim, BFT’s former Community Manager, wore compression socks during the first 500 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail to give her added support while on the trail and to promote faster recovery while on her zero days. CEP, a well-known company among runners, makes a few outdoor specific hiking compression socks of varying lengths some of which are even made with Merino wool.
SUPPORTIVE KNEE BRACES
There are a few different supportive braces to protect your knees while hiking that are designed specifically for hitting the trails. If you’re mostly just a weekend hiker, a 3D Adjustable Knee Brace might be a good idea. My boyfriend Dyan has bad knees and finds these very useful. You can wash & thoroughly dry the brace between uses to keep it fresh. When Kim was researching knee support for her PCT thru-hike her family’s chiropractor recommended a brace that leaves the kneecap exposed, so you aren’t compressing your knee joint for an extended period. If you’re thru-hiking or needing a knee brace for a multi-day outdoors vacation, you might consider a knee strap. They are slimmer & less restrictive without absorbing as much body sweat , yet still provide ample support for your knees.
GET PLENTY OF OMEGA-3’S
Omega-3’s are fatty acids that your body doesn’t produce on its own. They help to lubricate your joints as well as decrease muscle and joint pain by reducing inflammation. Flaxseeds, walnuts, chia seeds, egg yolks, and olive oil are all rich in Omega-3’s. You can also take fish oil capsules. Omega 3’s have been proven to improve focus and concentration which is great for conquering those 14er’s or a thru-hike.