Save yourself from common hiking injuries in Union with these helpful tips
We may be into August now, but there’s still a healthy chunk of summer remaining. For some of you, the answer to how you’ll be spending any available time left is an obvious one: hitting the trails and getting some proper hiking in while you still can. If your idea of fun generally involves hiking boots and a map over sandals and a book, read on for some helpful tips to reduce the chances of hiking injuries in Union and elsewhere.
Whether you have plans for a multi-day trek through the Appalachians or just a short hike at a local state park, there are several precautions you should keep in mind before stepping foot on any trail. Hiking can be an unpredictable activity for a number of reasons, so it’s always best to be prepared accordingly. On certain hikes, the terrain can change multiple times within the span of a few miles, and in many cases this can take a toll on your body.
This is why injuries are typically considered an unavoidable part of the hiking experience. If you’ve hiked for long enough, you most likely have had your share of injuries—both big and small—and feel that they simply come with the territory. While this may be true to an extent, it doesn’t mean nothing can be done to reduce your chances of experiencing hiking injuries in Union.
Below are some of the most common hiking injuries and what you can do to prevent and treat them. Injuries are generally divided into those that happen on the spot, which are called traumatic injuries, and overuse injuries, which develop over time:
How to prevent and treat common hiking injuries in Union
- Ankle sprains: a twisted or sprained ankle can easily happen on an uneven trail with rocks, hidden obstacles and slippery surfaces like tree roots; you can reduce your chances of suffering an ankle sprain by wearing appropriate boots with ankle protection, carrying a stick or stabilizer for balance, and watching your footing
- Blisters: blisters are so common to the point that many feel they are inevitable, and they can certainly make every step painful the rest of the way; make sure your boots and socks fit well and keep your feet dry as much as possible to avoid blisters; if you notice a “hot spot” where a blister may begin to develop, apply a layer of moleskin or athletic tape to the area
- Iliotibial band syndrome: this injury occurs as the result of inflammation to the iliotibial band, a ligament that runs down the thigh to the shin, which is regularly activated while hiking; it generally occurs from not warming up or stretching enough before hiking, so the best way to prevent it is to stretch thoroughly before every hike and not push beyond your limits on the trails
- Achilles tendinitis: another overuse injury that develops from lack of stretching, this affects the Achilles tendon in the heel and can make hiking very difficult; keeping this area flexible and strong with exercises will help prevent it
- Low back pain: some hikers complain of pain in the lower back from wearing packs that are too heavy or not positioned properly; if this is a problem for you, consider adding more padding to your pack, reducing its weight or making other adjustments to its fit
By adhering to these precautions and educating yourself before stepping foot on the trail, you’ll automatically be reducing your chance of hiking injuries in Union or wherever else you decide to hike over the next few weeks. For additional help, contact us for specific exercises to improve your strength and flexibility, which will reduce your chances of injury even more. Contact Arrow Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation at 908-258-8782 or click here to schedule an appointment at any of our four clinics in Union, Woodbridge, Edison or Somerville NJ. For more information on other hiking injuries, click here.