Have you ever had knee pain from walking too much after a day of walking back from the deer stand?
Maybe you have knee pain in your day-to-day life, or perhaps you're someone that only has bad knees when you amp up your activity level. As you enter deer hunting season, you may be putting more stress on your knees than your body is used to.
We don’t have to tell you that hunting requires a lot of walking. It often isn't on trails, and you cover some treacherous terrain. Even if you are planning to spend most of your time in your deer stand, you have to walk to get there. And you're likely carrying a pack full of gear.
If you have knee pain, it can distract you from why you're really out there, and it can take the joy out of an activity you love.
So, how can you keep your knees healthy and ready for your next day out?
There are several ways you can prepare for hunting season ahead of time to keep your knees in working condition, from nailing your nutrition to perfecting your gear and packing skills.
What causes knee pain when walking?
If you are just going for a casual stroll through your neighborhood, it is likely you don't have too much knee pain when walking. Most of the time, when we experience knee pain while hunting, it is from walking on uneven terrain, wearing unsupportive shoes, carrying extra weight, suffering from an underlying condition, or not preparing our bodies.
Be honest: have you been inactive most of the year leading up to your hunting trip?
When you go from an average workday with a few low-impact activities during the week straight into hiking through the mountains with a backpack and gear, it makes sense that some pain can pop up.
Even for those that are in shape for the trip, knee pain is a common issue that happens as we age.
If you are an avid deer hunter, this pain may even be worse. But the reason isn’t only because you are generally more active during hunting season. It’s about activating your tendons, ligaments, and joints - and then keeping them sedentary.
Once you hike out to the stand with all of your gear you then spend the majority of your day sitting. When you stay in one position for too long, your joints may start to stiffen and tighten up. Then you have to hike back out, making your already-tight knees feel even worse.
When you are hiking for a hunting trip, pay attention to the specific movements and times pain emerges. Many have knee pain walking downhill due to the pressure put on your knees from performing such a repetitive motion and the impact of holding your bodyweight upright while moving downhill.
This alone can be enough to cause knee pain, but there are also a few medical conditions that can make joint pain worse during physical activity:
- ACL damage
- Meniscus tear
- IT band syndrome
Some of these conditions could stem from former injuries; some can even happen while hunting and hiking. Other conditions listed are often from overuse or an underlying condition that you must manage in your day-to-day life.
How to avoid knee pain from walking too much during hunting season
No matter the cause of your knee pain, there are ways to prevent pain while hunting and get existing knee joint pain relief along the way.
Physically prepare before the hunt
We all have varying lifestyles and a busy work schedule. Keeping up with your job, a family, not to mention any hobbies, makes it seem like most of the day is already taken. If you are an avid hunter, though, being physically active year-round can be a game-changer when you're in the field.
You don’t need to hit the gym every day of the week to prepare for a big trip. But you should start making some changes at least a few months before hunting season starts. Depending on your starting point, this could look like getting outside and going on more walks or hikes during the month. Maybe you could go to the gym and hop on the stair stepper a few times a week.
A little goes a long way for your joints, and keeping them moving with low-impact cardio will help.
To stave off knee pain from walking too much, you also need to work on those stabilizing muscles surrounding your knee. This second part of preparation is about strength over movement. Again, low-impact activities like yoga or a simple strength training program are a great place to start.
Whether you are new to an exercise routine or a seasoned pro, we still recommend working with a professional to ensure your safety. It is easy to injure yourself if you exercise improperly or don't have the correct form. And you may not have the sheer muscle power of your younger years. Signing up for a yoga class, going to group weight training sessions with an instructor, or hiring a personal trainer is the best way to workout in a structured, supervised environment.
If you already had knee pain well before hunting season (or it got in the way of your good time last hunting season), consider short-term physical therapy. They will provide you with tools and workouts that help you regain strength and avoid knee pain from walking.
Eat a balanced diet
What you eat can dramatically impact both your physical and mental health. Eating fried or fast foods every day won't necessarily cause something like bursitis or arthritis. But it can contribute to your overall health, waistline, and impact your knee pain levels.
Certain foods also have known health benefits. Just as certain foods are known to cause things like inflammation, others - such as collagen protein - may reduce existing joint pain.
Common foods to avoid if you struggle with knee joint pain while hunting include:
- Sugary foods
- Fried foods
- Foods high in salt or MSG
- Heavily processed foods
- Red meat
- Refined carbohydrates
We aren't saying that you can't eat any of these foods if you have joint pain, but having a decent balance and cutting back consumption may help. We recommend working with a medical professional to diagnose your knee pain and a dietician who may be able to direct you to the diet that helps you most.
The good news is that there are also foods with natural anti-inflammatory properties that may help you manage knee pain as well:
- Green tea
Integrating a healthy, balanced diet into your daily routine is a great way to begin to address any type of knee pain from walking too much. And when you pack your meals for that hunting trip, we recommend swapping out some of the old go-to’s for nutritious options. It’s possible to have good hunting snacks that keep you energized all day long.
A balanced diet will help you achieve your ideal overall health - not just reduce your knee pain from walking. Please note, however, if you have preexisting conditions, you may need to alter your diet to focus on or avoid certain foods like the ones we've listed above.
We want to be honest with you. It is tough to get all the nutrients we need strictly from the food we eat.
Most of us have at least one or more deficiencies or pre-existing conditions (to find out what those might be, your doctor can do tests). We will not talk about all of the different supplements you could possibly need; we will just focus on supplements that may help with knee joint pain.
Some common supplements recommended for joint pain include:
- Fish oil
- Topical CBD
- Liquid collagen protein
- Frankincense (Boswellia)
- Devil's claw
Some of these supplements may be recommended daily, while others are just as-needed. Keep in mind that although many supplements are derived from natural sources, the concentration can interact with your body differently. So, if you decide to integrate a supplement into your diet, it is essential to consult a medical professional. This is especially true if you have any underlying conditions or currently take prescription medications.
Although several supplements may help you manage joint pain, collagen is an all-star for promoting joint health and reducing knee pain from walking.
You may have been introduced to collagen as a beauty supplement, but the long list of collagen benefits for men include wound healing, joint pain relief, weight management, hair growth, and more.
In fact, collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body!
Collagen can be thought of as the glue or support of many of our connective tissues, including your skin, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. You produce it naturally, but that natural collagen production slows as you age. It can decrease as early as your 26th birthday.
And so, taking collagen for arthritis or joint pain relief is relatively common.
You see, when consuming high-quality and easy to absorb collagen (these two elements are key), your body can then take the amino acids from the supplement and turn it into collagen in the body. Then, that new collagen can move to the areas in your body that are in the most need.
As a protein itself, collagen is an excellent daily protein supplement that you can consume as a powder, liquid, gummy, or pill. So, not only can you give your joints a boost, but you can easily replace your other protein powders or supplements with it.
FrogFuel liquid collagen, in particular, comes in single-serve pouches that are easy to toss in a hunting pack or truck, don't take up much space, are quiet when you open them, and can be completely digested in about 15 minutes. Other proteins, like whey, often come in powder form, requiring you to measure them out and mix them before use. And because of the mix of ingredients and additives, they can cause things like bloating or an upset stomach.
When looking at collagen vs. whey (a popular protein choice), the benefits of collagen clearly outweigh whey.
Not all collagen is created equal, though. And this is the quality factor.
Collagen in it’s common form, is a large, hard-to-digest molecule. Nano-hydrolyzed collagen protein, however, has undergone a few additional steps to make it easy for your body to use. We’ve spent countless months perfecting our hydrolyzation process to ensure it’s the most readily bioavailable collagen protein source for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to take with them on a day out in the woods.
Have supportive hunting gear
We certainly recommend that you evaluate your supplement list, and add a handful of Frog Fuel liquid collagen protein packs to your list of deer hunting snacks. But there are other things you can be doing to prevent knee pain from walking too much while you're hunting.
The gear you wear can quite literally stabilize your knees and provide more protection for your body when carrying heavy loads.
First of all, you need a quality backpack. You want to distribute the weight properly and pull it close to your body. That will keep your body more balanced as you hike and prevent any stumbling that could lead to more strain on your knees and joints.
Then, we recommend investing in trekking poles. Now, this may seem unnecessary at first. You’re looking for a prize buck, not summiting Everest, after all. But trekking poles are ideal for hilly terrain, especially when you're going downhill. The trekking poles help your body better distribute your body weight and the added weight of your pack because they allow your shoulders and arms to absorb some of it.
It’s also easy to find retractable trekking poles that can be strapped to your backpack while in the deer stand or if you don’t need them.
You should also carefully choose your hunting footwear. You’ll probably be scaling rocky hills, slogging through boggy ditches, and dealing with a range of temperatures. You need a boot that will stand up to the elements, provide ventilation, and take the brunt of the shock as you hike - so your knees don’t have to.
Lastly, try to minimize what you take out for the day. If you can cut weight somewhere, do it. The less you have to carry, the better your knees are likely to feel.
Try Frog Fuel liquid collagen protein this hunting season
Having knee pain from walking too much is an easy way to turn an enjoyable hunting trip into a miserable day outside. The good news is that you can take action before, during, and after a day in the deer stand to prevent or alleviate some of your knee pain.
Natural supplements are usually a great way to give your body the extra back up it needs to handle the extra stress of hunting season. Taking collagen for joints is not just a great option, but one that’s been extensively tested and even chosen by medical facilities for its wide range of benefits.
As hunters ourselves, we keep a good supply of Frog Fuel liquid collagen protein in our trucks, hunting packs, and coolers for a dose of nutrients - and energy (if you pick our protein + caffeine products). Our protein was literally designed for rugged environments and long-lasting energy. After a successful career as Navy Seals, our Founders were looking for a clean, easy-to-use and easy-to-digest protein source to power their active lifestyles. They put a lot of work into making, testing, and trying different collagen products to find the best one to supercharge their workouts and help them recover after a long race.
Today, Frog Fuel is a veteran-owned company that’s not only trusted by athletes and hunters, but by 1,000’s of medical professionals as well. We pride ourselves on providing the best supplements to our customers, and encourage you to enjoy our liquid collagen as a filling and low-mess snack during your next hunting expedition.