Now that spring is ending and summer is rolling in, we are seeing several patients come into our office with hiking injuries. Staying safe in the mountains is essential to prevent sprains and strains. Here are 6 common hiking injuries and how you can prevent them.
Ankle or Knee Sprain
A simple misstep can cause you to lose your balance and strain your knee or ankle. Sprained ankles and knee injuries can be prevented by wearing the right hiking shoes, pacing yourself, and watching the terrain as you hike. However, there are always exceptions! If you end up with a ankle or knee strain, our Layton physical therapy office can provide you with assistance. We specialize in restoring your ankle or knee to it’s full range of motion using a variety of modalities and physical therapy techniques.
Another common injury when hiking is blisters. Blisters are caused when you are not wearing the right shoes. Always wear the correct hiking shoes that fit well and allow you to cover large areas of terrain without rubbing on your feet. We recommend performance sports socks to go along with your hiking shoes to ensure they fit snugly and do not have areas where they bunch up and cause blisters.
When you fall, one of the first things you do is put out your hands to catch yourself. The problem with placing your hands in this position is that you can easily cause a strain, or worse, a broken wrist. We help patients with rehabilitation for wrist sprain, strains, and even broken wrists. Restoring the wrist back to its proper range of motion requires time, patients, and the right physical therapy treatment.
Every time you go hiking, always take plenty of water with you. Dehydration happens so quickly and it is easily prevented. If you start to feel thirsty, your body is already telling you it is dehydrated. Stay smart when it comes to hydration and plan on bringing a water-filled backpack. The problem with dehydration is how it can cause the muscles to start cramping up. When you are hiking and you end up with muscles that start tightening, it can wreck havoc on your body. You could end up with an injury in a different area because you were overcompensating for a different muscle that was starting to cramp. Our best recommendation is to follow the experts rule of thumb and drink 8 ounces every mile.
Coming home with a few bruises and scrapes is common after hiking. Skinned knees and elbows seem to be the most common skin injuries. Always watch your surroundings as you are hiking so you can prevent common skin injuries. Bring a small first-aid kit with you as it will allow you to treat any injuries you obtain while you are on the train. Our best tip is to always be mindful of the hike and watch out for loose rocks and tree branches.
Even if you think the majority of your hike is in the shade, you will still need sunscreen! Sunburn is always a danger and when the temperatures around Utah hit the triple digits, you are in trouble! Apply sunscreen before your hike and re-apply it during your hike. If you are hiking around the Wasatch Front in the hot heat of the summer, wear clothing that helps to block the sun’s harmful rays.
Utah has some of the best hiking trails around! We want our patients to get out and enjoy these beautiful hikes, but to stay safe while doing so. If you have an injury, call our Layton physical therapy team today for treatment. Our goal is to fix you up correctly so you can get out there and start hiking again!