Outdoor Federation

Top 10 Most Common Hiking Injuries

Prevention and treatment of injuries is something that you will eventually need to deal with if you are participating in any form of sports. While most people don’t think of hiking as a form of sports, it is easy to compare hiking with high impact exercises such as ultrarunning and running. While it is always advisable to take your time and ease yourself into hiking, there are several injuries that are common in experienced and novice hikers alike.


Almost all people have had more than several blisters in their lifetime, and how they prevent and treat blisters can vary from one person to another. Everyone has dealt with these blisters, and they really suck. Blisters are one of those seemingly unavoidable parts of your overall hiking experience. However, once treated properly to eliminate any risk of infection, you can easily deal with and even avoid blisters while in the backcountry.

Blisters form as the result of friction which causes fluids to accumulate between irritated skin layers and swell, which eventually tears and causes that discomfort that many of you are familiar with. To avoid or prevent blisters, the best thing you can do is to wear socks and shoes that fit you properly. Ensuring that your feet stay dry with no signs of wetness for a long period of time will also be able to help prevent blister formation. The moment you feel that hot spot on a possibly blistering area, you can apply a layer of athletic tape and moleskin to avoid it from rupturing. If you still end up getting a nasty spot, you can treat it through cutting or draining the damaged area, putting some antibiotic ointment, and using a Band-Aid and fair amount of athletic tape.

Muscle Cramping

Nothing can take out the fun in your hike than experiencing cramps in your legs every time you take a step, or feeling your toes curling in on themselves the moment you lay down on your tent at night. Muscle cramping is also among the common hiking injuries which result from dehydration. It may sound simple enough to avoid cramp by ensuring that you drink lots of water, right? However, there are instances when it gets too cold that you simply forget to drink the right amount of water.

It will help if you stretch before your hike, and when you still succumb to that nasty cramp, you can reduce some of the pain by stretching further. You can also consider applying cold and hot temperatures to the cramp. You can refuel yourself with your favorite electrolyte-dense sports drink. All of these solutions will be able to help you walk your way back home.

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While it is true that mentioning that area between your legs can be considered as TMI, the irritation brought about by chafing can seriously put a damper on your overall hiking experience. It is a very common hiking injury that you cannot just cure by wearing long sleeves, either. What you can do instead is to choose the right active underwear on top of your average cotton briefs as this can go a long day to avoid looking like you spent a long day in the saddle when nighttime comes. Make sure you opt for synthetic nylon or wool when selecting your adventure underwear, and when you happen to still get the urge to scratch at places you shouldn’t be scratching in public, a good amount of body powder can do the trick.

Twisted Ankle

If your hike has brought you to an uneven trail filled with slippery surfaces, hidden obstacles, or rocks, it could be very difficult to avoid a twisted ankle. Although there are twists that you can just fix easily by walking it off, there are also those instances when more attention is required if you want to finish the hike.

To save yourself from these injuries that will only rob you of good time, wearing the right kind of boots offering ankle protection is the best place to start. Aside from that, having a hiking stick or other form of stabilizer can help you in balancing your steps. When you twisted your ankle to the point that you need to take a seat, make sure you elevate your injury. You should also know how to form a proper ankle brace, and if possible, take a rest for the day to allow the swelling to subside.

Sun Burn

If you spend your time outdoors, there is no way that you can avoid a bit of sun exposure. The best way for you to prevent uncomfortable and annoying sun burns that cause you to turn and toll all night is through wearing pants and long sleeves and applying proper sunscreen each few hours. But, there are times that pants and long sleeves do not fit your outdoor lifestyle and with the enjoyment and fun that you are having, it could be hard to take note to reapply your sunscreen when required. For when that it happens and you end your day a good cherry red, the products that contain Aloe Vera would soothe the sensitive skin. Rather than bringing spill-prone, bulky packaging with you, transfer that into a travel capsule. Then, make sure to seal it tightly.

Bug Bites

Another common hiking injury is any type of stinging, biting, or annoying insect. The best way to prevent such epidermis intruders like gnats and mosquitoes is through wearing clothing, which covers the skin. If they are bad, it might include head nets. A lot of repellants are provided in the market from the natural solutions to the product lines, which contain DEET and between such repellants and long clothes, you can get rid of most bites that you’ll come your way. For some that you cannot avoid, the products like the Calamine Lotion would help you avoid your instincts to itch or re-aggravate bite marks.

Abrasions and Minor Scrapes

There are times that you’ll realize you scraped up your legs until the end of the day while tromping through the thorn bushes. But, pants and long sleeves can make a huge difference in the skin protection from abrasions and minor scrapes, yet they do not always provide complete protection. Fortunately, abrasions and minor scrapes are easy to treat using well-place Band-Aids and antibiotic lotion. Through paying attention on the cut for several days until it completely healed, you may ensure that it will heal properly and you will avoid infection.

Diarrhea or Constipation

It is a taboo conversation topic at a dinner table, yet open communication when it comes to digestive condition is a crucial safety factor on the hike trail. Upset stomach isn’t only an inconvenience to your overall performance and mood, yet once left untreated, it could lead to gut-busting medical emergencies. Stomachs may respond differently to your hiking life due to combine trail food diet and extra exercise. Diarrhea may be caused commonly by bacterial infection or dehydration and may be prevented through cooking all foods and staying hydrated properly. Constipation may be caused by a lot of reasons and on the hike trail, it could be associated with mental and physical stress and new diets. Through carrying small supply of laxatives and Imodium, it could help things go a bit smoother.


A bit of exhaustion must be part of your hiking experience. It means that you’re pushing yourself into the new territories and would provide some of the best sleep you will ever experience throughout the day. However, take exhaustion very far out in the wild and you might find yourself in tough situations. The main cause of exhaustion is improper nutrition and dehydration. You should make no mistakes about it because when you are on the hike trail, you’re burning lots of calories and your body needs lots of fuel. Bring light and calorie-dense foods with you on the hiking trail and plan the water sources before going out. If everything fails, you have to shorten your mileage or extend your trip’s duration and take a break.

Poison Ivy

Nothing could run fun time such as Poison Sumac, Poison Oak or Poison Ivy, and its spreading rash that such plants could bring. If you can avoid and identify these plants, it’s the simplest way to avoid any poison rash issues. Besides, pants and long sleeves that cover the contact areas like legs and arms will help eliminate any late-night itching or troubles. If you stumble upon the unexpected grove of such poisonous plants, bringing a Calamine in your own first aid kit will help you get rid of the irritation.

You have to remember that poison ivy and some related plants could be the main cause of ending your camping trip with over inhalation or exposure through burning of the plants. If you think it has happened to you, exit immediately the hiking trail and look for the closest emergency station near your area. With this, you can be assured that you will get the treatment you need.

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