So, as many of you know, I do a lot of hiking, and now some backpacking. It's an activity that i love to death, but it can place a whole lot of pressure on the knees and such.
As I've done more and more hiking, over greater distances and elevations, I've come to find that I sometimes get hit with great knee pain, especially when going downhill. I've known all my life that I have flat feet, and thought that my flat footedness and resulting overpronation of the foot might be causing me the grief in my knees. For that issue, I've been looking into good insoles I can use for ultimate stability support in my hiking boots, while also paying close attention to how I land on my foot and pronate, consciously trying to rotate the foot and leg outward. This seems to have helped me a lot when walking on flat ground and uphill.
However, i was doing some research today on knee braces as another option of avoiding knee pain on hikes, particularly downhill, and came across the topic of "hypermobility." I did some quick googling, a qucik check on my knees with a mirror, and behold... apparently my damn knee hyperextends, and the kneecap itself may have hypermobility. This explains why sometimes after a couple hours of hiking my knee joints may begin to essentially collapse mid-stride, threatening to dislocate. That issue in particular occurs mostly when going downhill, and now I know it's because of my knee's tendency to hyperextend. Only when going downhill does my leg need to completely straighten out in order to hit the ground in front of me, and this form of movement allows for my hypermobility to become an issue.
Tweaking how I walk when i start getting that helps just enough to keep injuries from happening, but I know it's just a matter of time, hence why I'm looking for extra support. This new revelation is good for helping me understand where my joint problems are coming from, but it also tells me that all of these joint issues together will probably give me serious problems as i get older if I don't address it immediately, especially while I'm engaging in such strenuous, joint wearing activities like backpacking. So does anyone have any advice on what i should do? I'm looking into superfeet insoles to help with the alignment of my foot and higher joints as a result, and trying to see what kind of knee brace would be most beneficial. The hyperextension isn't extreme, I don't think, so hopefully I can alleviate these problems without surgery (now or in the future).