This last weekend I went on my first overnight trip of the year. I went in 14 miles in about 6 hours and there was really no elevation change for the first 12 miles. The next day when I started hiking back my knees were killing me. This was on friday and they are still hurting today. I don't remember doing anything to hurt them while hiking, is this just a injury because it is my first time out this season?
Loc: north carolina
Tough to answer without more info. Impossible to do a medical consult over the Internet, and besides I'm not a doctor, just a hiker with a history of knee pain in various places. (So none of this is medical advice.)
14 miles in 6 hours with a pack is a pretty good pace. What kind of shape are you in otherwise? Do you sit at a desk all day at work? Do you walk/job/run/climb/work out in a gym during the off season?
Where *exactly* is the pain? On the outside of the knee? Directly in front below the kneecap? Do you recall a specific incident which caused the pain to start?
Starting with a 14 miles day is likely to cause an overuse injury such as tendinitis. The location of the pain can provide more info. When I had this issue, my trainer told me to take anti-inflammatory medication twice a day starting just before and continuing during the hike, then for several days afterward. Please understand that I am not suggesting that YOU do this -- YOU should see your doctor or an athletic trainer.
However, unless there was a specific injury, usually with a twisting or wrenching motion, you likely only have tendinitis and it will go away eventually. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are the usual remedies. A neoprene sleeve can provide support and compression. Ice it before you go to bed. Drink plenty of water while on the trail (and now in recovery.)
I'm not a doctor either. Just a longtime athlete who's had every injury in the book and who spent 5 years working in physical therapy.
Ken is exactly right. You didn't mention your backround or a specific type of pain. From the limited information it's hard to even venture a guess. The knee is a very complicated joint. Anatomically it's actually two joints.
You hiked a long way which you presumably don't normally do, presumably with a pack, presumably in shoes or boots you normally don't wear. Those are all things your knees are not used to and they're going to protest.
You have what is usually called an overuse injury. The name says it all. If you're not feeling way better in a few days I would seek professional attention if I were you. I the meantime, try some stretching. It can work wonders on some types of injuries.
_________________________ If you only travel on sunny days you will never reach your destination.*
* May not apply at certain latitudes in Canada and elsewhere.
How heavy was your pack? Exactly what are the insoles of your boots like? Perhaps they have not enough padding. Are your boots really heavy compared to your daily shoes? A ten pound pack and tennis shoes can cure a lot of problems!!
I get knee pain sometimes too, the other posters have the diagnosis (based on little- to no information) bang on. You might also want to let us know your age, and shape (pear, apple, or carrot).
Once I hit 30 I found my knees couldn't take the abuse any more. I started using trekking poles, a knee brace, lighter gear, more stretching, and better hydration, they all seem to have a positive impact. After 3 or 4 days of 20 milers I'll still get pain that won't go away until I rest for a few days though.
Loc: Washington DC area
Once I hit 30 I found my knees couldn't take the abuse any more. I started using trekking poles, a knee brace, lighter gear, more stretching, and better hydration, they all seem to have a positive impact.
This echoes my experience. The kneebraces were at the suggestion of my doctor, the trekking poles were from reading here. Both made a huge positive impact on my hiking life. I probably couldn't hike at all if it weren't for these things.