Weak at the knees? Your hips might be to blame. Lack of strength in major hip and glute muscles can result in imbalances that strain the tendons and tissues that connect your pelvis to your knees. Swelling, popping sounds, or pain lasting longer than two weeks can indicate a more serious issue (check with a medical professional), but pain below the kneecap can often be fixed with a regular hip-strengthening routine. Do this one three days a week for eight weeks before your hiking season.
The Expert: Alex Lanton, from Atlas Physical Therapy in Colorado, has spent 10 years treating knee issues in outdoor athletes. When he’s not helping patients, he’s traveling the world, trekking everywhere from Patagonia to Scotland.