Hiking-related injuries range from minor concerns, such as blisters and bruises, to more serious conditions, including stress fractures and ankle sprains. These complex hiking injuries may initially be assessed as less serious or even overlooked as an overuse injury that will repair itself. Some hikers first attempt to treat pain by modifying their walk or pace, or by switching shoes. While these kinds of modifications seem straightforward, they can actually contribute to complications and further injury.
"It is critical hikers know the signs and continually monitor for complex injuries, as not seeking treatment may result in additional damage that can lead to longer, more involved treatments and recovery periods," continues Dr. Catalano.
Careful preparation can help reduce the chance of injury and make it easier for professionals to treat when problems occur. ACFAS advises hikers to take a few key steps that can make an important difference:
- Protect toes from blisters and toenails from bruises by wearing proper fitting footwear.
- Select material for socks that wick away moisture and protect from the cold.
- Condition boots before setting out on a hike.
- Know the hiking route and options for accessing medical assistance.
- Carry supplies, such as bandages and wraps, to help immediately protect and stabilize injured feet and ankles.
For more on hiking safety and other foot and ankle health information, visit ACFAS' patient education website at FootHealthFacts.org.
The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons is a professional society of 7,400 foot and ankle surgeons. Founded in 1942, the College's mission is to promote research and provide continuing education for the foot and ankle surgical specialty, and to educate the general public on foot health and conditions of the foot and ankle through its patient education website, FootHealthFacts.org.
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SOURCE American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons