A short lesson on why tramper’s knees can be painful and exercises to alleviate that pain. By Dr Carmen Chan
Knee pain is common in trampers of all ages. The demands placed on knee joints when carrying a heavy tramping pack and how our body, hips and ankles might adjust to the added weight during prolonged periods of activity, can influence the cause of pain.
It’s possible to prevent knee pain by teaching your body to move well. People who get knee pain can often benefit from strengthened quadriceps. These are the muscles located in the front of the thigh above the knee cap and are essential for providing stability to the knee joint.
These two exercises are useful for maintaining knee joint stability and strength. For each exercise, do two sets of 12 prioritising good form and balance. It may be easier on the knees to start with four sets of six.
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Step forward longer than a walking stride keeping your knee in line with your foot. Bend your knees to 90 degrees as you lower, raising your back heel.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, focus on keeping your heels on the ground as you lower yourself as far as you can as if sitting on an invisible chair. Keep your chest up and your knees in line with your toes. A mirror may be helpful for this exercise.