Hiking and Trail – Injuries & Management


With Melbourne Summer in Full Swing

It’s only appropriate to take advantage of some of the great hiking trails in Victoria. Whether you choose to walk or run, we have a couple of pointers for you to keep in mind to prevent any injuries!

One of the Most Common Hiking Injuries: Ankle Sprains

Walking on trails are a great alternative for joints compared to concrete pavements but they present their own challenges. Uneven and unstable ground along with fatigue is a great recipe for ankle sprains; but don’t let that turn you off, here are a couple things to help prevent any ankle sprains:

  • Wear appropriate footwear:
    • High tops are a great option for those wanting extra ankle support.
    • Waterproof shoes can help with the temperamental weather, mud and any wet obstacles you may come across.
    • Shoes with a grippy soles to ensure you get good traction.
  • Strengthen your legs – provide those ligaments with extra support by strengthening your lower limbs. Our physios will guide you to ensure the appropriate muscles are strengthened to provide stability in your ankles. They will also have a look at your biomechanics to ensure you’re moving correctly and efficiently for those runs or long walks.

Another Common Problem: Lower Back Pain

Walking on uneven terrain and continuous inclines, especially if you are carrying a heavy backpack can take a toll on your lower back. But this can be prevented or minimised if you:

  • Take rests regularly – plan accordingly, having allocated rest breaks will help with your endurance in the long run.
  • Ensure your backpack straps are adjusted correctly to ensure weight is distributed evenly.
  • Stretch your lower back in the beginning, while resting and after the hike.
  • Strengthening exercises – book in with one of our physios to prescribe you with an appropriate strengthening program to ensure your core, back and legs are primed to avoid overloading your spine.

And Lastly, Calf Sprains

Our body must adapt to the different surfaces and inclines/declines tracks might throw at us. This means some muscles may be loaded more or less than others. Your calves play an important role in pushing and propelling your leg forward with each step which means longer walks or running can take its toll on them.

We can prevent calf sprains by:

  • Warming up well before beginning – Our physios can help design a program to ensure your calves and lower limb muscles are stretched and warmed up with a few strengthening exercises before beginning.
  • Pace yourself – plan your breaks and adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Stay hydrated – drink plenty of water leading up to the hike and throughout to avoid any muscle cramps or tightness.
  • Don’t forget about recovery – Once the hike is done ensure you cool down with stretches and drink plenty of water. Avoid remaining stationary for long periods immediately after to prevent muscles from tightening up.

Enjoy the trails!