Hiking Injuries

 

 

 

Hiking is an activity beloved by many due to the connections with nature, health benefits, and escape from the hustle and bustle of city living. In recent years, many fitness experts have labeled walking activities as one of the best forms of exercise. Even though it requires more time, long-distance walking activities like hiking can offer the same health benefits as jogging and running, but without the high-impact pounding on the body’s joints. However, hiking isn’t without risk of injury.

How Do Hiking Injuries Occur?

A 2007 study by Yellowstone National Park showed that hiking accounted for 38% of all visitor injuries, with 58% of those injuries being to the lower extremities.

Hiking requires a great deal of physical fitness and endurance. Depending on the location, it may also involve treacherous terrain with inclines, declines, uneven surfaces, and falling/sliding debris. As such, there are a number of overuse and traumatic injuries common to hiking activities.

Most traumatic injuries occur due to falling while hiking on uneven terrain. Heavy packs can throw off a hikers balance and be a contributor to falls.

Overuse injuries most often occur when the body is pushed too hard, too fast and not given enough time to recoup before resuming activity. This isn’t too hard to fathom considering a day hike or backpacking muti-day hike can easily involve 10 miles or more and the body being in motion most of the day(s) to complete the trail.

What Are Some Common Hiking Injuries?

Plantar Fasciitis

The plantar fascia is a thick band of fibrous connective tissue. It’s located just underneath the skin on the bottom of the foot. It serves as a connection between the heel bone and the toes and helps to support the arch of the foot. When this band of tissue becomes overstretched, irritated, and inflamed, it’s called plantar fasciitis. Any combination of several factors may cause the plantar fascia to become damaged:

* tight Achilles tendon
* tight calf muscles
* repetitive overloading of the foot (hiking that’s too frequent, intense, or long)
* too high or too flat arches
* wearing poorly fitting shoes that don’t provide arch support

The main symptom of plantar fascia is localized pain, especially at the bottom of the heel. The area is usually most painful after prolonged periods of laying or sitting, such as first thing in the morning. The pain usually subsides after the first few steps, but may suddenly return following hiking or prolonged periods of standing.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

Another thick band of fascia tissue affected by hiking is the iliotibial band. This band of tissue crosses the hip joint and then inserts on the patella, tibia, and biceps femoris tendon. It acts to stabilize the knee as it’s picked up to make a step. As the knee is extended and flexed, the band easily flicks back and forth over it. However, activities like hiking that involve repetitively extending and flexing the knee can cause the band to rub across the lateral femoral epicondyle (the bony part along the outside of the knee). The friction causes the iliotibial band to become irritated, inflamed, and thickened over time. The symptoms of ITBS include:

* lateral knee pain and tenderness, especially during knee flexion and extension
* pain that may radiate up the leg and into the hip area
* a snapping or popping sensation as the iliotibial band crosses the knee

Sprained Ankle

A sprain is an injury to a ligament. It occurs when the ligament is stretched beyond its normal capacity or torn. An ankle sprain involves either the anterior talo-fibular ligament, posterior talo-fibular ligament, and calcaneo-fibular ligament along the lateral side of the ankle; the deltoid ligament along the medial side of the ankle; or the inferior tibio-fibular ligaments attached to the lower ends of the tibia and fibula. One or more of these ligaments may be stretched or torn when the ankle is rolled or twisted past a normal range of motion. For example, a hiker may step on the edge of a rock and roll their ankle.

Like all sprains, ankle sprains are graded based on the degree of stretching or tearing to the ligament:

* Grade one - stretching or microscopic tearing that doesn’t affect the ankle functioning.

* Grade two - moderate tearing that may involve swelling, decreased range of motion, redness, heat, pain, and tenderness.

* Grade three - significant to complete tearing that involves more than 90% of the affected ankle ligament. This grade is usually accompanied by significant immobility, swelling, redness, heat, pain, and tenderness around the ankle.

Of course, these are just a few of the injuries common to hikers. Other common injuries include: shin splints, menisci injuries, fractures, muscle strains, tendinitis, bursitis, contusions, lacerations, and blisters.

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Acute Sinew Liniment

Acute Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

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Chronic Sinew Liniment

Chronic Stage Treatment: Rub on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

Strongly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles, thereby quickly relieving pain, stiffness and weakness. Sinew Injury Poultice, Sinew Relaxing Soak, and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Herbal Ice

Acute Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and/or inflammation are present.

This first-aid ice alternative poultice (balm) is used in place of ice to significantly speed up the recovery and healing process. Reduces redness, swelling, and inflammation while dispersing accumulated blood and fluids to help restore normal circulation to the injured area. It reduces the swelling and inflammation more effectively than ice, allowing you to more quickly regain normal range of motion. Acute Sinew Liniment can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Injury Poultice

Chronic Stage Treatment: Apply on the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather.

This poultice (balm) is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful in cold and damp weather. It significantly stimulates circulation to damaged tissues and further promotes the healing of overstretched tendons, ligaments and muscles. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Relaxing Soak and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $37.95
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Sinew Relaxing Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if you feel restricted mobility in your injured area. It is used to relax muscles, tendons and ligaments that are in spasm to reduce pain and stiffness and improve range of motion. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Warming Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Sinew Sports Massage Oil

This specially formulated massage oil is recommended for use before and after exercise, sports and strenuous activity. It penetrates deep into muscle layers to warm and stimulate muscles, increase circulation and relieve tightness, hence improving your performance and helping to prevent injury.
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Sinew Warming Soak

Chronic Stage Treatment: Used to soak the injured area when swelling and inflammation are gone, but you still feel pain, stiffness, weakness or sensitivity in cold and damp weather. If the injured area is too large or in an area that can’t be submerged in a pot of water, you can also saturate a towel in the liquid and apply it to the injured area.

This soak is particularly useful if your injured area is more painful and sensitive to cold or hurts more in cold weather. It is used to bring warmth into the injured area to drive coldness out of damaged tissues and increase local circulation, thereby relieving pain and stiffness in cold weather. Chronic Sinew Liniment, Sinew Injury Poultice and the Sinew Relaxing Soak can be used in-between applications.
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Our price: $23.95
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