Hiking Injuries Tips

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When should I start training before a hike?

Getting in Shape For Hiking

No one wants to be injured during a hike. That's why pre-hike training is vital. One way to get your hips and shoulders prepared for hiking is to start carrying a backpack whenever you can, beginning 2 or 3 weeks before a hike. Over the weeks, increase the load in the back pack as well as the time you spend carrying it. Challenge yourself by making small treks on different terrains, using a hiking pole if necessary. This will get your skin used to the pressure points of the backpack and your muscles strengthened for the load.

   
Is hiking a healthy activity?

Hiking Is Good For You!

There's no question that hiking offers a great way to get regular exercise. But there are other benefits as well. Your mental health is also improved with regular hiking. Hiking is a great way to reduce everyday stress and just get away from it all for a while. You may choose to share the experience with a partner or hike alone, allowing yourself to clear your head. Depending on how you choose to approach it, hiking can be a way to relax or a way to challenge yourself physically.

   
What are the signs of heat stroke?

Diagnosing Heat Stroke

When hiking in warmer climates, heat stroke is a real danger. This can occur when body temperatue rises to dangerous levels and is unable to be controlled automatically. Dry, hot skin combined with severe headaches, dizziness, fatigue and disorientation are signs of heat stroke. These can lead to loss of consciousness or even seizures. In order to bring temperature down, take of all the victim's clothes and if possible place the victim in cool water. If not enough water is available, try using cool air by fanning the victim. It is essential to bring the victim's temperature down or death can result.

   
What do I do if a hiker is injured and bleeding?

Dealing With A Bleeding Wound

In the event you or someone in your hiking team gets cut and is bleeding, place a clean cloth over the wound and firmly apply pressure for 7-10 minutes. Do not replace the cloth if the blood soaks through. This may cause further damage to the skin. Instead, add more cloth. Elevate the wound so that it is above the level of the heart, if possible. Do your best to get the victim to medical professional as soon as possible.

   
How do I tie a tourniquet?

How to Apply a Tourniquet

Find a strip of cloth, a belt or a piece of flat flexible material. This tourniquet should be two inches wide and long enough to wrap around the limb twice. Place the tourniquet right above the wound. Wrap it around the limb twice. Tie a half knot with the tourniquet. Place a stick or straight, firm object on top of this knot and tie a full knot over the stick or object. Slowly twist the stick to tighten the tourniquet until the bleeding stops. Secure the stick in place. Do not loosen or remove the tourniquet. Make note of when the tourniquet was applied so medical professionals will know how long it has been in place.

   
How is hypothermia treated?

Treating Hypothermia

In the hospital, active core rewarming of a hypothermia victim is done by "inhalation rewarming." This procedure donates heat directly to the head, neck, and core of the body through inhalation of warm, water-saturated air at 107 - 122°F. Inhalation rewarming warms the hypothalemus, respiratory center, and the cardiac center at the base of the brainstem. Inhalation rewarming also eliminates respiratory heat loss, which accounts for 10% to 30% of the body's heat loss.

   
How do I train to hike?

Training to Hike

You may be in great shape, but hiking requires a different set of skills than, say, swimming or weight-lifting. In order to avoid injury, you will need to train yourself before hitting the trails. Start by hiking in a park or along roads near your home. The excursions should be short (1-3 miles). Wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots. Time yourself so that you can return home before dark. As you get stronger, you can lengthen your walks until you are comfortably able to hike up to 9 miles.

   
How do I treat a spinal injury?

Handling Spinal Injuries

On occasion, a hiker may slip and injure his/her head or neck. If you suspect a spinal injury has occurred, follow these steps: Do not move the victim, and do not allow the victim to move him-/herself. Send for medical assistance immediately. Immobilize the neck and back using any nearby tools like branches or walking poles. Keep the head mobilized. Keep the victim warm, and check for signs of shock until assistance arrives.

   
How often should I hike?

Hiking Frequency

Taking hiking trips on consecutive days is very different from single day hikes with days of rest between them. Consecutive hikes add the challenges of blisters, muscle aches, and skin irritation. You can prevent injury by slowly training yourself to increase your number of consecutive hiking days. Taking on too much too soon will not only do damage to your body, it will most likely undermine the joy of hiking as a whole, keeping you from continuing the sport.

   
How important is stretching when I hike?

Warming Up Before Your Hike

Like any physical activity, it is a good idea to stretch out before and after you hike. But don't just pay attention to your legs when you stretch; hiking requires agility in all of your body. Here are two basic stretches. For hamstrings: Bend your knee so that your foot reaches toward your backside. Reach around and grab your ankle, pulling the foot close to your body. Repeat on both sides. For neck and head: Drop your left ear down toward your left shoulder. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat on right side.

   
What do I do if I get sprained on a hike?

Sprains and Strains

If you sprain or strain yourself on the trail, what should you do? First, immobilize the injured area. Apply ice, but cover it with a cloth or plastic to prevent frostbite. This will reduce the swelling and numb the area. Ice for no longer than 20 minutes at at time. Stop application when the area is numb. Do this on and off for the first 72 hours of treatment. After this time, apply heat compresses to aid in healing.

   
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Jolyn Wells-Moran