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Can You Go Hiking with Arthritis?

Person hiking up hillside holding trekking poles

Hiking with Arthritis & Doctor Hoy’s

If you have arthritis, hiking can be a great way to stay active while supporting your joint health. The activity may even help improve arthritis symptoms like stiffness or swelling. Doctor Hoy’s® is an FDA-approved natural topical pain reliever that can make hiking with joint pain easier to manage. Check out the following tips for a safer, more comfortable hiking experience.

Elderly woman hiking and holding a walking stick

Is Hiking Good for Arthritis?

The CDC recommends low impact exercises to help with joint pain from arthritis. Walking is one of the best exercises for arthritis as it can help reduce stiffness, build muscle strength, and improve mobility. If you have chronic joint pain, taking a nature walk or going for a hike may ease symptoms and help you stay active.

Hiking when you have arthritis keeps your joints mobile, strengthens supporting muscles, and promotes good heart health. Breathing in fresh air as you connect with nature can also boost your mood and reduce stress, which may make dealing with chronic pain a little easier.

Exercises for arthritis should start at a slow pace, cross short distances, and carry light loads with a gradual increase in intensity overtime. Always talk to your doctor before exercising with arthritis to discuss what kinds of exercises are best for you. Too much strenuous activity can damage arthritic joints and worsen your pain. People with less severe arthritis may use hiking to be proactive about their joint health.

Two women hiking on paved road using trekking poles

How to Manage Joint Pain When Hiking

Most hiking terrain is unpaved, goes up and downhill, and may be littered with obstacles like rocks or tree roots. When hiking with arthritis, support and protect your joints by taking precautions or wearing gear like a dynamic ankle brace to prevent injury and manage pain. Avoid overloading your knees, hips, feet, and other joints by carrying light loads and starting out slow on flatter, more familiar paths.

Pain Medications

When you start hiking, continue your regularly prescribed arthritis medication for daily pain. While some hikers might try to prevent joint pain by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever before their trip, you should always ask your doctor before adding to the medications you already take. Certain medical conditions restrict the use of NSAIDs.

Natural Pain Relief

To safely and effectively manage joint pain after hiking, add a topical pain reliever to your regular medication instead. Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel is FDA-approved for the treatment of pain symptoms from arthritis. This natural topical pain reliever provides safe, clean, and effective relief from joint pain, muscle soreness, and more. You can use it before hiking to warm and prep your muscles and during or after the hike to relieve pain at any time.

Special gear like a knee brace or compression sleeve provides added stability when hiking with knee arthritis while combatting joint pain with an ice pack or an easy-to-use roll-on like Doctor Hoy’s Roll-On Pain Relief Gel can get you back on track. For additional relief, try Arnica Boost Recovery Cream, which can reduce inflammation from joint pain, impact injuries, gout, neuropathy, and more.

Woman applying roll-on pain relief gel to shoulder; man applying arnica cream to knee

Tips on Hiking with Arthritis

Whether you’re trying new ways to be active with rheumatoid arthritis or you developed osteoarthritis overtime as a seasoned hiker, there are steps you can take to make hiking less hard on your joints. Here are some useful tips for hiking through arthritis pain:

  • Plan Ahead: If your arthritis pain follows a daily pattern, schedule your hike for a time of day when you have the least amount of pain. The best climates for arthritis may be easier for hiking, so keep track of the weather if you have more aches and pains in cold weather or rain.
  • Use Trekking Poles: Hiking or trekking poles help propel the body along using your arms instead of your lower body, which helps reduce strain on your knees and hips to lessen fatigue. Along with wearing a stabilizing ankle brace, they can give you better stability and footing on uneven ground. If you have wrist pain from arthritis, choose poles with contoured or cushioned grips.
  • Wear Supportive Shoes: Investing in a quality pair of hiking shoes or boots that fit can reduce the impact on your feet and knees. Make sure they have decent tread to prevent slipping and consider adding an orthotic insole with arch support for added comfort, stability, and relief.
  • Pack Light: Every pound you carry in your hiking backpack adds more pressure to your joints, so be careful to pack lightly. Include essentials like water, sunscreen, your phone, and a roll-on pain reliever. For better stability, choose a hiking backpack that belts to the hip and waist.
  • Stay Hydrated: Your muscles, joints and other connective tissues require plenty of water to function at their best. Staying hydrated protects joint cartilage, prevents fatigue, and keeps your muscles strong.
  • Bring a Friend: You’re more likely to enjoy exercising with arthritis if you can invite a friend to join you. Plus, having a partner to support you might prove to be just the motivation you need to start a workout routine.
  • Stretch: Warming up with a good stretch routine both before and after a hike can help reduce your pain and prevent muscle soreness or injury.
  • Condition Your Body: Not everyone is ready to hit the trails. Start exercising with other low-impact activities or fit them in between hikes to help boost your mobility. Some of the best exercises for arthritis are swimming, cycling, tai chi, and yoga.
  • Know Your Limits: The last thing you want to do when hiking with joint pain is wait until you’re too exhausted to finally turn back. Stay safe and in the least amount of pain possible by taking it slow, giving yourself permission to rest, and listening to your body’s natural cues.
  • Work Your Way Up: Gradually increasing the length and difficulty of your hikes will give you more confidence and be healthier for your joints. Some days you might have bursts of energy that you can use to go a little further or a little faster.
  • Keep Your Posture: Good posture can help prevent pain. When hiking, avoid walking bent forward when carrying a backpack as this can be bad for your stability and may cause more back pain. Focus on staying upright and use your backpack’s straps to help position you.
  • Be Careful Going Downhill: Most hiking injuries happen on downhill slopes, which are the most difficult if you have osteoarthritis in your knees. The safest way to hike with arthritic knees is to go downhill in a zigzag motion to lessen the pressure on your knee joints and use trekking poles for better support.

If you are a seasoned hiker, you might be able to take on more challenging hikes from the start even with your arthritis pain. Beginners should focus on the journey, not the destination. As a first-time hiker or if you are returning after an injury, opt for easier, one-mile paths or loops with no steep hills or valleys.

Elderly couple hiking with trekking poles

Relieve Joint Pain After Hiking with Doctor Hoy’s

Hiking can help individuals with arthritis be more active, improve their mobility, and manage their pain. Doctor Hoy’s Pain Relief Gel and Arnica Boost cream deliver soothing relief from joint pain and inflammation. Both are easy to apply, and you can use them as often as you like, making Doctor Hoy’s a must-have for hiking with arthritis.


Types of Activities for Arthritis | CDC. (2021, August 5).

Bottoni G, Heinrich D, Kofler P, Hasler M, Nachbauer W. The Effect of Uphill and Downhill Walking on Joint-Position Sense: A Study on Healthy Knees. J Sport Rehabil. 2015 Nov;24(4):349-52. doi: 10.1123/jsr.2014-0192. Epub 2014 Oct 29. PMID: 25365450.

Walk Your Way to Less RA Pain. (n.d.). WebMD.

Tips for Hiking with Arthritis | Orthopaedic Specialty Group. (2021, September 30).

Black, R. (2019, October 3). Hiking with Arthritis: What to Know Before You Go. HealthCentral.

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