Hiking injuries are the last thing you want to think about as you lace up your shoes and head out the door. However, a little preemptive care will help you avoid unnecessary pain and enjoy hiking in the great outdoors for as long as possible.
Thousands of people get injured hiking every year, and the most regrettable part of it all is that nearly all of the incidents are preventable.
Injuries from this activity range from slight scrapes and strains to broken bones and ligaments. It’s enough to make anyone want to avoid exercising altogether. However, with proper preparation and prevention techniques, you can avoid many of the root causes of these injuries.
This brief guide will go through the most common hiking injuries and tips to avoid them.
Sprained Ankle and Blisters
While spraining your ankle and dealing with blisters may seem like two completely different items, they are grouped together because they can be resolved in the same manner– by having the proper equipment.
Blisters occur when parts of the shoe rub extensively on a sensitive piece of skin. If you go hiking frequently and have callouses on your feet, you likely won’t experience this problem. However, if you buy new hiking boots and forget to break them in before your big trek, you’ll be wishing for a different pair of feet before the end of it.
Sprained ankles also typically occur due to your footwear as well. In order to best prevent sprained ankles, look into getting hiking boots that lace up your legs, at least past the ankles. These kinds of shoes provide cushioning so that if you unexpectedly step into a hole, your ankle is supported until you can restore your balance.
Another common hiking injury is back pain, although people often associate this pain to other incidents. Back pain can occur for multiple reasons.
The first way manifests when you carry a heavy load inappropriately on your back. Remember to keep the weight evenly across your shoulders. Also, if possible, try to distribute the weight on your hips as well. This will reduce the load and strain on your back.
Another cause of back pain is poor posture while hiking. When you’re tired, it’s easy to slouch up the side of the mountain. However, what may reduce your pain in the short run is only going to increase it in the long run. Try to keep your hips in line with your back to reduce back pain.
The third most common injury is knee pain. This often occurs in similar situations as ankle sprains. However, instead of the ankle getting twisted, it’s the knee. This is where most damage typically occurs. There are multiple ligaments in the knee that if pushed too hard or in the wrong direction can become strained or torn.
Your knee also takes on a lot of pressure during downward slopes. The solution to prevent knee pain is to first, have the right gear. Second, you will want to be intentional as you place your steps. Don’t let gravity take you flying down the mountain hard. Third, stretch before and after the activity.
Resolving Hiking Injuries and Pain at Arthritis Care of Texas
Hiking injuries can take days or weeks to heal. However, if you continue to experience pain after resting the area for more than a month, it’s time to get some help. Our team here at Arthritis Care of Texas can help. Call us today for a free consultation.