Here in the Pacific Northwest, hiking in the summer for some is second nature. There are limitless spots to go and there are options for all skill levels, from quick 2-mile adventures to multi-day backpacking trips. And with never-ending sunny days on the forecast, we find that most of our patients will end up going on a least one hiking trip in the summer. So, we want to help prepare them for those hiking trips so that they can fully enjoy them without risking injury.
Ankle Sprains or Knee Strains
Hiking on trails that are rocky, steep, or uneven can cause even the most experienced hikers to twist an ankle or a knee. A leg injury on a hike can ruin the entire trip and take up precious time that could be spent admiring lakes or wildflowers.
A good place to start to prevent sprains and strains is by wearing the right shoes. Hiking boots with ankle protection is important because they keep the foot firmly in place and also provide better traction. Another way to prevent sprains and strains is by using walking sticks. Lastly, we recommend that our patients’ strength train year-round. Strong legs and calves are going to help prevent these injuries because the muscles will be strong enough to handle a light twist or fall. This can be the difference between a twisted ankle to a badly sprained ankle.
Muscle cramps are commonly caused by dehydration. It can often be easy to forget to drink water when you are busy looking at waterfalls or climbing mountains, but it is crucial to stay hydrated and make sure that you pack enough water for your trip.
It is also important to pre-hydrate before a trip. Even a short hike can cause dehydration, so some experts say to drink lots of water before your hike and to try to drink roughly 8 ounces every mile.
A hike can work the muscles in a way that some of our patients aren’t used to, and soreness is very common. We recommend seeing one of our trained physical therapists, and they can help you with manual therapy to help relieve your soreness. After that, we recommend that you schedule an appointment with one of our strength experts, and they can help you build the strength you need to do the hiking that you enjoy, pain-free.