Calves are burning, knees hurt and legs feel like Jello. After a major hike, the body is asking, "why the torture?" How to deal with post-hiking pain and recovery is something every hiker faces as they advance to more strenuous levels.
For day-hikers, backpackers and trail runners, after-care for pain is a very real part of the sport. Injuries and lactic acid build-up can keep a hiker sidelined for days and make the simple act of going down stairs excruciating. Many precautions can be taken to ensure less stress to legs, knees and feet during a hike, but as every seasoned hiker knows, it s not going uphill that s the problem it s coming down!
Hiking down a steep descent places additional stress on knees and muscles that have not been conditioned for downhill activity. Joints and tendons become painfully inflamed. And pushing past ones level of ability and distance, increases the production of lactic acid, resulting in a burning feeling in leg muscles. Don't let pain be a discouraging factor in pursuing higher achievements on the trail. The sense of loftiness felt when reaching the pinnacle of a climb is worth conquering post-hiking pain.
Pre-hiking suggestions to minimize pain:
Get fitted with sturdy, stable boots or trail running shoes.
Buy shoes/boots that are at to 1 full size larger than your regular shoe size. After several hours of hiking, feet will swell and need room to expand.
Wear socks made of Coolmax for moisture control and to minimize blisters.