Avoid Injuries While Enjoying Hiking
Posted on June 24 2020
Most of us have had to change our summer travel plans this year but luckily for those of us living in Colorado, we have the beautiful mountains to enjoy and explore.
If you are planning a long trip or just hiking on the weekends, many people can suffer from sore muscles, blistered feet, or aching joints. These injuries can stop you from doing what you love and hamper your adventure. Check out these tips on how to prevent and treat common hiking injuries so you can keep doing what you love and enjoy our beautiful state. Most hiking injuries are preventable, many others are easily treatable by a physical therapist.
Avoiding Knee Pain While Hiking
For most people knee pain can be avoided. Regularly stretching your muscles will get the blood flowing through your muscles and lubricate your joints with gentle movements. To ensure strong muscles and a stable connection between the bones beneath them it’s helpful to exercise regularly. In addition to daily walks on varied terrain, cross-training to strengthen the knee joint works as well as swimming, biking, and yoga.
Using trekking poles is very helpful for people with a tendency toward joint pain. Trekking poles allow for a better distribution of weight with each step.
Preventing Shoulder Pain While Hiking
If you have an ill-fitted backpack or one that is too heavy, it can cause the shoulders to round. A rounded position will create tension in the muscles. That tension can compress nerves that lead to headaches and other aches and pains. The best position for hiking is a long, tall spine with your ears over your shoulders. Try to use a backpack that allows the weight to mostly be placed on the hips and not the shoulders.
Hiking Without Lower Back Pain
One of the easiest ways to preventing lower back pain when you’re hiking is developing a strong and stable core. The core consists of different muscles that run the entire length of the torso. When these muscles contract, they stabilize the spine, pelvis, and shoulder girdle and create a solid base of support.
Also, the kind of backpack you use can make a big difference. When you wear a backpack that doesn’t have proper lumbar support, you could be aggravating your lower back. Lightening up your pack and making sure you have a good-fitting backpack is your number one priority.
Again, use trekking poles to keep you upright, stable, and take a lot of stress off the back.
If you have back, shoulder, or knee pain that is preventing you from hiking, exercising, or if the pain persists for more than 2-3 weeks, contact us today to schedule an appointment with a licensed physical therapist.
Eliminate Foot Pain While Hiking
Most importantly, the hiking boots or shoes you wear should be lightweight, comfortable, fit properly, with good arch support. Also, lacing them up correctly so your foot has breathing room will help avoid blisters or injuries.
Blisters are very common for hikers, especially when you’re hiking every weekend or if your shoes don’t fit properly. Before your hike, try placing a band-aid where your blisters will eventually appear. Other foot pain may be caused by plantar fasciitis, the result of an inflammation of the connective tissue of your arch or if you are experiencing pain and swelling at the back of your heel, you may have sustained changes to the Achilles tendon.
It’s always a good idea to strengthen the bones, muscles, and connective tissue of your feet to prevent stress fractures or soft tissue injuries. Stretching your feet helps to avoid foot cramping and loosens up the muscles and prevent aches and pains. This should be done regularly and just before hiking.
If you are experiencing foot or heel pain that will not go away, give Fit Physical Therapy a call at 303-409-2133 and schedule an appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists who will work with your to decide whether orthotics are a good option for you or develop a physical therapy plan to get you back in the game of life! Click here to schedule your appointment today!
From serene nature trails to stunning mountain top loops, Colorado is loaded a variety of hiking trails in every part of the state. Do you have a favorite place to hike? Tell us and check out these top-rated trails in Colorado.
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