Guide To Hiking With Pain-Free Ankles, Knees, and Hips

We may have high taxes here in California. BUT, we can exercise outside in shorts and a T-shirt nearly every day of the year. In the winter, you go in the middle of the day and enjoy the warmth of the sun. In the summer, you take advantage of cool mornings and extended daylight.


Meanwhile, in the rest of America...


So we've got great weather. But what if pain or limited mobility holds you back from hiking and being active? Now that's something we can help you with.


Before we get into specific exercises, let's talk about how to get started hiking. The most important thing you can do with any new form of exercise is to start slow. Your cardiovascular system and muscles will be the quickest to adapt to the new stimulus. Your ligaments, tendons, bones, and nervous system will take much longer. Aches and pains from hiking more often come from these slower to adapt tissues in the body.


So give them time. Start with a few lower mileage walks 2-3 days a week. Add one to three miles to your total volume each week. Give your body at least a month to adapt before doing any hikes over 5 miles. If you're planning longer hikes (10+ miles) I would recommend working up to them over 2-3 months.


A few years ago, I made the mistake of hiking Half Dome in Yosemite with no training and in barefoot shoes (more on these later). I had achilles tendonitis for months after. It could have been avoided with a little training before or different shoes.


If you're worried about your feet, ankles, knees, or hips holding you back from hiking and living the active, healthy life you want, we'd love to help. You can sign up for a FREE 30-minute hiking-ready consultation with one of our expert doctors of physical therapy today. During the consultation, we will assess some of the most common problem areas in active people over the age of 40 and identify your weak points. Simply fill out the form below and someone from our team will get in contact with you.


👇 Sign Up For A FREE 30-Minute Hiking-Ready ⛰ 🥾Consultation 👇


Now that you know about starting slow, let's get to the exercises! These movements will take your feet, ankles, knees, and hips through a full range of motion. They will build strength throughout your body.

Exercises

















These exercises are simply a starting place. Your body is unique. It's highly recommended that you take advantage of our no-risk FREE 30-minute hiking-ready consultation. Let's make sure you're ready to enjoy the trails for decades to come! Snag a spot by signing up below.


👇 Sign Up For A FREE 30-Minute Hiking-Ready ⛰ 🥾Consultation 👇



A few of our favorite hikes:

Easy: Big Dalton Canyon Trail

This is an easy 2.5-mile out-and-back trail in Dalton Canyon. To find the trailhead, go up Glendora Mountain Road and take a right on Dalton Canyon Road. They close the first gate at sunset and reopen at sunrise. Don't get stuck in there after sunset! Drive on Dalton Canyon until you come to a small dirt parking lot on your right with a map. The trail starts across the road.



Medium: Monroe Truck Trail To The Flag And Back

This is a 5-mile, very popular, moderate out-and-back trail right here in Glendora. To find the trail, go up Glendora Mountain Road past the first yellow gate (if that gate is closed, park outside the gate in the dirt and walk up the road). There is a hairpin turn about 1/4 mile past the first gate. The trailhead is in the northwest corner of the turn.


Hard: Church Of The Open Door Trail

This is an awesome newish trail here in Glendora. It's a bit tough to find and there's not much information about it on the web. The trail is about a mile and is very steep. But the views are worth the hard work. To get there, you'll go up Grand Avenue and take a left on Sierra Madre. Once you see the sign for Church Of The Open Door, take a right and head up the road. About 1/3 of a mile up the road, you'll see an opening in the fence. Park in the parking lot for the church and walk back to this opening. The trail is right there. I recommend parking somewhere in Glendora and walking there to get a nice warm-up!


Super Hard: Old Baldy Trail To Summit and Back

This is a tough one! Pack a lunch and bring LOTS of water. This trail ascends nearly 6000 ft. over 6.5 miles. It's unrelenting. But, making it to the highest point in the San Gabriel Mountains is pretty awesome! Make sure you're in great shape before attempting this hike and plan to be gone for the day. To get there, park across the street from The Mt. Baldy Lodge. Walk up Bear Canyon Road until it ends and you'll see the trailhead.


Shoe Ideas

Let's talk about shoes!


Shoes for hiking are incredibly important. What works for one person may not work for another.


Here are a few factors to consider.


Ankle support and rigidity

For a long time, hikers and backpackers have believed that having shoes with ankle support and stiff bottoms (like the ones below) was the way to go.


The ankle support gained from a shoe like this is minimal at best. The problem is that shoes like this weigh a LOT. The shoe below weighs nearly 3 pounds for a pair! Weight on your feet starts to make a big difference on longer hikes.


You might be better off considering a trail running shoe like a Hoka, Altra, Topo, or similar brand.


Hoka Torrent 2 Trail Racer

This shoe weighs 1 1/4 pounds (less than half of the hiking shoe above)


Heel-To-Toe Drop

Remember my Half Dome hike story from earlier? I wore barefoot shoes (below) for a hike with a lot of elevation gain.


The heel and toes of a shoe like this are at the same level. They also have minimal padding on the bottom of the shoe. Both of these create extra stress for the foot. NOW, we at Village are HUGE proponents of barefoot shoes. I even think hiking in barefoot shoes is a fine idea. BUT BUT BUT, you have to work up to it. Give your feet plenty of time to adapt to being a in a barefoot shoe before attempting rigorous hikes in them.


VivoBarefoot and Xero are two of our favorite brands here at Village.


Looking for help hiking pain-free?


If you're worried about your feet, ankles, knees, or hips holding you back from hiking and living the active, healthy life you want, we'd love to help. You can sign up for a FREE 30-minute hiking-ready consultation with one of our expert doctors of physical therapy today. During the consultation, we will assess some of the most common problem areas in active people over the age of 40 and identify your weak points. Simply fill out the form below and someone from our team will get in contact with you.


👇 Sign Up For A FREE 30-Minute Hiking-Ready ⛰ 🥾Consultation 👇


-Dr. Matt and the Village Team


Here is me and some of our awesome clients out on a hike together a few months ago! #GetOutSide and #EscapeTheSedentary!


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