When osteoarthritis kicks in, even the most ardent of hikers must make some unwelcome changes to their routines. Right now, the disease is not about old age anymore. Cases of younger people being affected have been reported in the recent past.
While people need to make changes when they have osteoarthritis, that does not mean that they should stop enjoying hiking. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you want to go hiking with osteoarthritis.
Listen to the Doctor
While there is no treatment for osteoarthritis, it is important to engage your doctor in the osteoarthritis management journey. Your doctor should be your first resource to contact when looking to make adjustments. From the doctor, you will get advice about what limits you can go to and how often you should hike. You may also get prescriptions that will make the hiking experience less strenuous.
Whatever your doctor says, be sure to pay close attention to it as you go. Also, make a point of giving your doctor regular progress updates. Report any joint pains and improvements too.
Stick to Known Paths
Yes, part of the joy of hiking comes from going on adventurous runs – taking the unknown path. This, however, is one joy that will probably be taken away-or toned down – by the onset of osteoarthritis.
The thing with known paths is that the challenges along the way are known beforehand. It thus becomes easy to predict the level of difficulty they present. An osteoarthritic person can, therefore, be able to weigh this against their pain levels and decide whether they are up to the challenge. Additionally, taking a known path means you are likely to meet people that you know, hence likely to get help if need be.
Take Paths that are Close to a Road
There really is no need for hiking to places where you will need emergency evacuation in case pain strikes. At this point, again, the hike is more about health and wellness rather than adventure. Always be in a place where you can take a ride back in case your body refuses to be pushed further.
Pay More Attention to Hiking Gear
More than ever, each item of your hiking gear gets additional meaning when you have osteoarthritis. You will need to be keen on small items like gloves and joint support. That thing you may have laughingly called a walking stick suddenly becomes an essential item. You have to be more specific about the shoes you wear because you definitely don’t want any kind of jerks. Thankfully, having the right equipment will go a long way in restoring the joy of the hike.