Hiking is a rewarding activity that is quite commonly taken up in Canada. Thousands of people visit the Canadian Rockies every year to experience the exhilarating feeling of being out and about in nature.
And while it’s a great way to get some vigorous exercise—with its many mental and physical benefits—it would be a shame for the experience to be ruined because of an easily avoidable injury.
Like any physical activity, hiking is not without its risks. Each year, Canadian ERs see thousands of hikers with mild to severe injuries. The most common injuries among hikers are sprains and strains, accounting for over 51% of all injuries.
Here are some expert tips to help you avoid getting injured the next time you strap on your hiking shoes and head out:
Invest In Proper Footwear
Hiking usually involves navigating uneven terrain that’s riddled with slippery areas, hidden rocks, and sharp sticks. This makes it quite easy to slip, trip, or fall, leading to injuries that range from sprained ankles to concussions.
Investing in a proper pair of tough high-topped hiking boots that offer good grip, are waterproof, and fit well can reduce the risk of injuries to a large extent.
Nature can be wild and full of danger. When you step away from civilization, you need to stay vigilant, no matter how exhilarating the experience is.
Keep a sharp eye out for any loose rocks or slippery surfaces. Even with proper shoes that offer traction, it is possible to slip and injure yourself.
Check the Weather Forecast
It might seem like a good day to hike when sunlight is streaming down, unhindered by the clouds. However, living in Canada means you must be prepared for sudden weather changes. The best thing to do is to check the weather forecast before heading off to hike.
This way, you can find out if the forecast calls for unexpected showers or thunderstorms. Rain can turn firm trails into muddy pathways, which increases the likelihood of hikers slipping and injuring themselves.
Avoid Dehydration and Fatigue
The sun may not be the biggest concern for hikers in Canada, but it can cause plenty of problems. Spending too much time in the sun can cause dehydration and sunburns, resulting in exhaustion and fatigue. This can increase the risk of injuries exponentially.
Dehydration can also cause dizzying spells which can be quite dangerous while hiking. Make sure you take lots of water or sports drinks with you to stay hydrated while on the trail and to prevent cramping, among other side-effects of dehydration.
Beware Plantar Fasciitis!
Plantar Fasciitis is one of the most common overuse injuries with regard to the feet. It is caused by the inflammation of the ligament that connects the toes to the heels of the feet. Repetitive expansion and contraction of the arches and the toes can cause micro-tears to appear in the ligament.
The best way to avoid plantar fasciitis is by doing some stretches before starting the hike and getting footwear that offers enough arch support.
Contact SEMI for Any Sport-Related Injuries in the Greater Toronto Area!
Sports & Exercise Medicine Institute provides expert diagnoses for sports-related injuries and other musculoskeletal conditions including hiking injuries.
As a premier sports medicine and physiotherapy clinic, we offer the services of leading sport-medicine specialists and physiotherapists in the Greater Toronto Area. Our innovative non-surgical treatment options and expert care allows our patients to stay in top shape for all kinds of activities.
Our services include foot pain podiatry, shockwave therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, custom knee braces, massage therapy, and neck and shoulder pain treatments.
Contact us now to schedule an appointment!