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  • Writer's picturePursuit of Motion

Get Lost: Hiking and Kayaking Injuries

Hiker’s Knee

With the nice weather, we are all excited to get out camping, hiking, and adventuring! With this increase in activity can come some common injuries, but do not fret we are here to walk you through them.

Hiker’s knee is a common overuse injury experienced by hikers. It is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of knee injuries that are caused by over-exertion in hiking on untrained knees.

The knee will typically experience more fatigue, soreness, or pain when downhill hiking. It is shown that force on the knee joint can be up to 8x bodyweight on the descent and it has been shown that knee proprioception is also decreased on the descent.

Therefore, it is crucial to condition the knee when preparing for your hike, so that you can hike pain-free for as long as possible and continue doing what you love. 

It is important to focus on supporting musculature and increase proprioception to protect the knee. Glute med and core strength are also shown to reduce loading on the knee reducing impact on the joint and preventing wear and tear.  

Knee Pain Prevention Tips

  • Choose supportive footwear.

  • Have a knee conditioning program and warm-up program.

  • Reduce the weight of your gear: Choose quality, lightweight packs that will reduce the load on the joints.

  • Use hiking poles: Research suggests poles are effective in redistributing some of the pressure in the knees.

  • Take your time: Slower controlled steps, try side stepping down steep downhill areas.


  • High knees (2 sets x 30 seconds)

  • Knees to bum (2 sets x 30 seconds)

  • Sweeps (2 sets x 30 seconds)

  • Open gates (2 sets x 30 seconds)


  • Bench squats (3 sets x 7 reps)

  • Step-ups (3 sets x 7 reps)

  • Reverse lunge to high knee (3 sets x 7 reps)

  • Forward T balance (3 sets x 1-minute hold)


Shoulder Injuries from Kayaking

Shoulder injuries are the most common injuries among paddle sport athletes. The shoulder is a ball and socket joint, makeing it very mobile and allowing us to move our shoulder and arm in a variety of ways.

However, the shoulder's mobility means that it is susceptible to injury. Paddle sports require a lot of shoulder movement and a great deal of upper-body strength. That is why it is a good idea to include proper shoulder stability conditioning in preparation for your paddling adventures!

Below is a warm-up program that includes some shoulder stabilization and control exercises alongside some core work.

Since our shoulders attach to our torso, it is important to include core strengthening in a warmup program to help build a stable base. This warm-up can be done before the activity, to help engage the shoulder muscles and core.

Shoulder Warmup:

  • Arm circles (2 Sets x 30 seconds)

  • Scapular pushups (3 sets x 7 reps)

  • Side-side pushups (3 sets x 7 reps)

  • External rotation to overhead press (3 sets x 7 reps using a paddle)

  • 90/90 carry (3 sets, each to fatigue)

Back Pain - in-Tent Program:

Do you experience back pain while you are hiking or carrying your pack? This is a common complaint in hikers, and there can be multiple reasons for back pain. This includes improperly fitted packs, weak core strength, or a back injury.

Hiking is great and we don’t want you to stop or slow down due to back pain. Try these tips to reduce your back pain, but if symptoms persist be sure to contact us to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

Back Warmup:

Before you head out hiking, try this warmup in your tent. It requires little room, no equipment, and can be done on the ground or sleeping mat.

  • Knees to side (2 sets x 8 reps per side)

  • Bird-dog (3 sets x 8 reps)

  • Dead bug (3 sets x 8 reps)

  • Glute bridge (3 sets x 10 reps)

  • Lying glute stretch (2 x 30-second hold)

Get a good backpack that is properly fitted for you:

A good quality backpack can make a huge difference for your back while hiking. Ensuring the pack is the right size for you and properly fitted is an important step before you leave for your trip. Visit our friends at Campers Village to get a good quality backpack that they will ensure is properly fitted and adjusted for you.


If you have any questions let us know and be sure to book with one of our physiotherapists or massage therapists if you are experiencing any pain while adventuring!

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