3 Things to Remember While Hiking


Hiking comes with it's share of injuries. Most are minor if treated promptly.

Consider this. It's the worst possible time for an injury. Right in the heart of the 100 mile wilderness and another 3 days before the closest town. Murphy's law says the chances of something going wrong are just about 100 percent. Maybe it's not something to worry about? Maybe the diligent prep-work before this hike has paid off. Maybe another 60 miles to town is painful, but not impossible.

A little background in medical treatment can go a long way for the bruised and aching hiker. Here's a list of 3 things to remember while hiking injuries.

3 Things to Remember While Hiking

Sprains (Ankles, wrists, faces)

Okay your ankle hurts. Definitely not good. Take a seat. Pop some Vitamin I and grab some lunch. Okay to stand on it? Good. Hurt like hell? End the day.

Walking on a sprained ankle is dangerous. Everything is all bent outta shape and your ankle is suffering it's own physiological version of PTSD. More importantly, you've lost some of your ability to sustain jagged rocks and steep declines/inclines. Ibuprofen, ice and rest are your definitive treatments. As it starts to heal and feel a little better, shorter mileage days are acceptable. Just forgo the trail-nastics4 for a week or two.

Illiotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

This injury is caused by a number of factors, primarily being overusing your legs (damn thru-hikers) and lack of stretching or warming up. Essentially, the ligament that runs down your thigh and to your shin (the illiotibial band) is what secures your knee in place. Hiking makes great use of this band, but without stretching and pacing, it can become inflamed, causing discomfort something tremendous.

  • Take a zero/nero day. This ligament is inflamed because of overwork and it is done with your BS. Rest it. This condition can become very severe very quickly. Again, listen to your body. You don't want a couple of mandatory weeks off the trail.
  • Ice and Vitamin I! Only temporary fixes, but good for healing.
  • Some specific stretches can help with this condition. I make no claims to have any knowledge of stretching (yet), so I've included a video of a few you can try.

Achilles tendonitis

The Achilles tendon is another important hiking muscle. Located on the back of your leg above the heel, this tendon stretches and compresses with movement of the foot. Like ITBS, Achilles tendonitis is caused by overuse and under stretching.

Beyond these stretches you can

  • Treat with Vitamin I, ice, and rest
  • Look at new shoe or insole options
  • Quit hiking

Always remember that if you are going to be hiking always do it carefully and do a medical checking before you go up the hill. Remember that Prolotherapy can help you get stronger tendons and ligaments.