Can I Hike With Pain?

Whether or not you should hike, or do any outdoor adventure, with pain should be dictated by the level of pain. While you may need to stop some activities (until the injury can be healed), generally you should not stop moving all together.

Oftentimes, pain is caused by weakness in certain muscles or a lack of mobility in joints and tissues. When we stop moving all together we get weaker and stiffer making the pain even worse when we do move. It’s a hellish snowball effect.

It’s completely normal to be worried about moving and making pain worse. We should listen to what our bodies are telling us, but some level of pain is often okay without leading to further injury.

With that being said, that doesn’t mean you should push through constant, significant, or worsening pain. If we always push through pain, that can make the pain worse too.

So, how much pain can you push through?

On a pain scale of 0-10 (0=nothing, 10=ER visit)…

0-3: Mild pain: It’s there, but not too noticeable

Tends to let you know it’s there, but isn’t enough to be a real problem. This pain may be just enough to be a little annoying with movement, but goes away with rest… Keep moving.

4-6 Moderate pain: More obvious and bothersome.

  • If this pain tends to stop when you stop moving and isn’t getting worse… Maybe ok to keep moving, but continue to monitor. You may need to make modifications to your activities (i.e. shorter and less strenuous hikes)
  • If this pain is lasting longer, doesn’t go away when you stop activity, or is getting worse you should likely stop that activity and consider seeking medical attention to address the cause of the pain.

7+ Significant pain: Tends to last long after activities or severe enough to keep you from moving.

  • Stop that activity.
  • Seek medical advice to address the cause of that pain.
  • Try to continue moving in non-painful ways as able.

Need help finding the cause of your pain?

Not sure if it’s still safe to continue normal activities?

Want some guidance or have a question. Switchback Direct Physical Therapy is here to help!

Text/Call us at 208-557-1470


This content is for general, informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice.


Dr. Tyler Burke

DPT, Owner and Founder of Switchback Direct PT

We help injured outdoor enthusiasts to stop hurting and start adventuring.

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