Hiker’s Knee, or Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, is a fairly common overuse symptom that is especially painful when walking downhill, hence the name. The issue can be caused by weak quadriceps or by not properly stretching or training. It can sometimes leads to serious knee problems if not taken care of properly
There many are ways to properly prepare for the summer hiking months, build knee/leg strength, and reduce the possibility of Hikers Knee:
Lunges keep your legs and knees active and can be performed anywhere. Spend five minutes each night doing lunges. You won’t only build leg muscles, but reduce the risk of injury.
In the off-season keep active by riding a stationary bike. Without regular workouts, the legs and knees become stiff. Stiff muscles and weak legs are prone to injury and can cut summer activities short.
Stretching your hamstrings and calves prior to a hike will help loosen muscles and reduce the risk of injury.
Pace yourself. Even for an avid hiker, the first hike of the year should be less than five miles round trip. Ease your way into the longer, more difficult trails. A knee injury in the middle of a desolate hike can result in a difficult and agonizing rescue.