Undoubtedly, injuries are an inevitable part of any adventure.
And, the first thought that strikes our mind when we mention hiking injuries is ‘prevention’. Obviously, because “Prevention is better than cure.”
However, do you feel learning to prevent them is enough? We don’t.
In fact, we believe:
Knowing how to treat them is as essential to knowing how to prevent them.
That being said, we have listed four of the most common hiking injuries below followed by the ways to treat them, just in case.
Even the toughest of hikers are prone to blisters. Although these are relatively one of the minor injuries yet are the cause of extreme discomfort. Long story short, they can turn any memorable hiking experience into a bitter one!
They are caused due to the friction between your skin, ill-fitting socks, and the moisture that gets trapped inside the footwear. Make sure to keep your feet dry and opt for moisture-wicking socks, especially those who sweat a lot.
So, you tried your best to prevent them but these nasty blisters just wouldn’t let go. In such a case, treat them by washing the affected area with soap and water and then follow these steps:
- Sterilize the affected area with iodine swab
- In case the blister is in tact, insert a sterilized needle into the sides
- Apply a little antibiotic ointment and cover it with a gauze
- Check the wound time and again and replace the gauze as needed
Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries amongst hikers. Thanks to the rugged terrains of the mountains.
While these are very mild injuries, yet sometimes they can be really painful and prevent you from walking comfortably.
Prevention is simple: You just need to invest in a quality pair of hiking boots. Make sure they are sturdy and provide enough support to your ankle. However, if you fall prey to sprained ankles and they are really painful, firstly keep yourself warm and comfortable. Rest as much as possible and apply ice. This will reduce the pain and will speed up the healing process.
Furthermore, apply pain reliever onto it for easy relief. Once you do, cover the affected area with an ace bandage.
Just like the other two, cuts are also one of the most common hiking injuries. The bad news is that they can happen anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re on an uneven ground and you fall or it is the trees’ branches to blame, preventing cuts is almost next to impossible.
Treat a small cut by disinfecting the wound, applying an antiseptic over it, and covering it with a bandage. Yes, that’s it. You can get back on the trail now.
In the case of deep cuts, tie a piece of clothing tightly over the wound immediately so as to stop the bleeding. You need to seek medical assistance there and then.
We’re all already aware of what sunburn is. So, I won’t stress on this information. Instead, I’ll come to the main point directly. This is one of the most painful and irritating hiking injuries experienced by adventurists. Especially those who have relatively sensitive skin and if you are hiking in the summer months.
For prevention, make sure to apply a sunscreen of SPF 25 or more on all the exposed parts of your body 20 minutes prior to stepping out. It is most effective then. Moreover, a cap or a hat is a must so as to prevent the sun rays coming on top of your head directly.
Treatments include applying ice packs over the affected area (wrapped in a piece of clothing). Besides, you can also apply aloe vera and other sun remedies that have a cooling effect on the human skin.
Now that you’re aware of the most common hiking injuries and ways to prevent and treat them, pack your backpack accordingly.
Make sure to include all the necessary items in your first aid kit. Most importantly, dress appropriately. I.e. according to the climate and cover yourself properly. Carry an additional layer if required (Even if it means carrying a tactical vest too!)