Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ Sign up for Outside+ today.
I have kneecap arthritis but I still want to hike. Aside from using hiking poles and losing weight (ha!), what else can I do so I can still hike?
Submitted by – Cathy, Boulder, CO
Well, your backpack can lose weight, and that would be an excellent place to start. Go light! Also, be sure you have good insoles to provide some cushioning, and think about getting them custom-made. Hamstring stretching can be useful, too, because the “quad-kneecap-patellar tendon” mechanism that straightens your leg has the fulcrum on the patellar tendon, which can get irritated. So when you reduce the weight on leg straightening (by reducing the tension in your hamstrings), you reduce the pressure on the kneecaps. (Find two hamstring stretches here and here.) You should also, I think, ask your doc about chondroitin with glucosamine. —Buck