As hiking season kicks off this summer, be sure to take all the proper precautions for injury prevention.
Start by making sure you have the proper gear for your hike. For shorter more mild hikes, sneakers may be fine. For longer more strenuous hikes, boots will provide better support and protection. While on the trails, make sure you are always aware of your footing; many trails contain loose or wet rocks and roots which can be dangerous, especially to knees and ankles. When coming down hills, it is important to take your time; be aware of your surroundings and try to avoid stomping down on your feet. If you feel a funny twitch or a small pain, don’t ignore it. Take a break, and if you need to turn back, do so before you create a serious injury.
Planning in advance for your hike is the key to enjoying a safe hike. Check the weather, hiking in poor weather is not only messy but dangerous as well. Be sure to bring extra clothing, including rain gear and warm clothing. When packing a bag, bring extra snacks, plenty of water, and always include a first aid kit and map of the trail. For those hiking with previous injuries, it is always a good idea to bring extra braces or wraps. Hiking sticks or trekking poles can help ensure you have a sturdy foot while reducing some of the impact on your legs and feet.
If you have a hike planned, train in the weeks before your hike. Don’t forget to stretch both before and after your hike, while hydrating in the days before and during the hike. Many do not consider the possibility of dehydration, which can have dangerous effects. After your hike, get the proper nutrition your body needs for recovery.
The best injury prevention is proper preparation. Hiking can be a fun activity if planned properly, check out americanhiking.org for more tips.