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Hiking is an excellent activity because nearly everyone can do it. Going on a hike can be a family activity, a form of exercise, and even a unique and fun date idea. Hiking is generally safe, but accidents happen. While the most common injuries are minor annoyances at home or in town, they can pose significant problems when you’re on a trail. If you’re on the middle of a trail, the nearest pharmacy or urgent care could be hours away. Fortunately, preventing hiking injuries doesn’t require state-of-the-art equipment and years of expertise. Having a little knowledge, preparation, and a first-aid kit can go a long way in preventing common hiking injuries. 

4 Tips to Prevent Common Hiking Injuries

You don’t need to be an expert to hike. However, whatever your experience level is, it’s important to have knowledge of the most common hiking injuries as well as how to prevent and treat them. 

1. Blisters

Blisters occur when the skin experiences too much friction. When an irritant repeatedly rubs against the skin, the top layer of skin separates. A fluid-filled sac forms to protect the deeper skin layers. When blisters burst, the raw skin underneath the skin becomes susceptible to infection. 

To prevent blisters, wear socks and properly fitted shoes appropriate for the terrain you’ll be hiking. Your shoes should also be appropriate for the weather conditions on the day you plan to hike. Additionally, you should wear your shoes around the house to break them in and ensure they aren’t too tight. The leading causes of blisters are ill-fitting shoes, improper sock fabric, and wet feet.  

If you feel a blister starting to form, apply a piece of athletic tape and moleskin to prevent it from rupturing. If the blister ruptures, drain the remaining fluid, then apply antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection. Cover the affected area with a band-aid or athletic tape. 

2. Strains and Sprains 

Most long-term hikes have experienced muscle strains and ankle or knee sprains at some point in their hiking career. Depending on the terrain you choose, you’re likely to encounter slippery or uneven surfaces, rocks, or hidden obstacles that increase your risk of a twisted or sprained ankle. 

You can prevent strains and sprains by wearing proper footwear for the terrain and using a trekking pole to help keep your balance. If you suspect you’ve sprained your ankle, remember that you will need rest, cold, compression, and elevation. Soak a t-shirt in cold water and hold it against the affected area to reduce swelling.

3. Sunburns 

Sunburns are one of the leading injuries commonly experienced by hikers. Hikers are not only out on the trails under the sun’s rays for hours, but the sun’s UV rays increase the higher they hike. 

Preventing sunburn is about creating a barrier between the sun and your skin. Sunscreen coats your skin to protect against harmful rays. It should not just be applied at the beginning of the hike but applied every two to four hours. Alternatively, you can wear UV ray protective clothing, like long-sleeved shirts and hats to protect against sunburn.

If you start to get sunburned, apply after-sun lotion or aloe vera to soothe the skin. 

4. Bug Bites

When you’re outside, you’re likely to encounter bugs. While most bugs are harmless, bugs such as mosquitoes can be dangerous. While not all bites are dangerous, they can leave behind welts that become agonizingly itchy. 

Most bug bites and stings can be prevented by wearing long-sleeved shirts and hiking pants instead of shorts and t-shirts. Before and throughout the hike, you should use insect repellents on any exposed skin. 

If you get a bug bite or are stung, you can apply antihistamine cream and avoid scratching to prevent further irritation and infection. 

Contact Our California Personal Injury Lawyers at Setareh Law

Setareh Law is a personal injury law firm dedicated to protecting the rights of injured residents in California. Our legal team prides itself on providing unmatched legal representation for victims of personal injury incidents. We are committed to our clients and believe they deserve expert legal counsel from a high-quality staff that works tirelessly on their behalf. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a personal injury due to another party’s negligence, Setareh Law is here to help. We speak both English and Spanish and can help you navigate the legal procedures of a personal injury claim in whatever language you feel most comfortable. You can schedule a consultation at (310) 659-1826 or by filling out our contact form.