Preventing Hiking Injuries

Hiking is one of the most popular ways to enjoy the beautiful Colorado scenery. It’s inexpensive, healthy, and the whole family can participate. Hiking can be a low-key stroll on an established path, an intense trek through wilder terrain, or anything in between. No matter what your idea of hiking is, there are potential injuries and ways to avoid them.

Two women hiking in a mountain valley.

Blisters

Blisters are probably the most common hiking injury but they’re very preventable. Wear high quality hiking boots that you’ve "broken in." Also wear comfortable socks made for hiking. Use extra padding or band-aids to protect sensitive parts of your feet.

Sunburn

It’s easier to burn in the Colorado climate, particularly at higher altitudes. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply it often when on a longer hike. Also wear a hat to shield your head and face and sunglasses with UV ray protection.

Dehydration

Dehydration is dangerous and can easily occur when vigorously exercising in hot weather. Learn more about staying hydrated.

Joint Injuries

With the uneven terrain and steep slopes involved in some hiking, you may be more susceptible to ankle knee, or hip injuries. To protect your joints, wear well fitting, supportive hiking boots. Consider using a walking stick to provide stability. Also make sure you get a good night’s rest before your hike as fatigue can reduce your body awareness and attention to detail. Stretch before hiking and start off slowly to warm up.

Hypothermia

Hypothermia can occur if your body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Weather can change quickly in the mountains. You may unexpectedly encounter cool weather or rain. Be prepared for a variety of conditions by layering your clothing and bringing a jacket. Also change out of sweaty clothing as soon as your hike is over.

Muscle Soreness

Sometimes we take on more than we’re ready for! If you’re planning for a long hike, prepare by taking shorter hikes or working out in advance. Minimize muscle soreness by stretching before and after your hike. On longer hikes, consume high energy snacks and plenty of water to provide your muscles with the fuel they need.


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