It’s the perfect time of year to slip out of town and head for the mountains – North Carolina summers are ideal for hiking, after all. At higher elevations, cooler temperatures can offer a respite from heat and humidity. Before you hit the trail, though, it’s important to understand the potential for hiking injuries. With a little foresight, you and your hiking buddies can prevent accidents while scaling your favorite peak.
Know Your Limits
After weeks of lounging poolside, your physical fitness levels may not be where you expect them to be. Unfortunately, many people lace up their hiking boots without a second thought. It isn’t until they’re halfway into a five mile hike that they realize their limitations. Hiking can be more strenuous than we realize, especially at higher elevations. If you’ve got a hike planned for the weekend, spend the days leading up to your adventure doing lunges, squats, and core-strengthening exercises. A little preparation can go a long way!
Side-Step Foot Pain
Choosing the right socks and shoes can help reduce the odds of foot pain while hiking. Many people mistakenly believe that hiking boots are necessary. For short hikes, any active shoe will do. Certain terrain and distances make boots nice to have, but weekend warriors can get away with running shoes or sandals on the trail. Stick with wool socks whenever possible. They’re highly breathable, wick away moisture, and keep feet at an even temperature, even when wet.
Don’t Forget First Aid
If you hurt yourself on the trail, you’ll be glad you brought along first aid supplies like bandages, over the counter pain medicine, and gauze. Sprained ankles are among the most common hiking injuries. Should you need to push through your hike in order to get back to your car, wrap the ankle in an Ace bandage and then ice it as soon as you get home.
Should you experience more significant hiking injuries on your journey, seek medical attention. A physical therapist can help you reduce pain and make the recovery process as complete and comfortable as possible. Contact our team at Physical Therapy Partners today and we can help!