View Full Version : Most Common Injuries

02-01-2011, 20:06
This question is to all you thru-hikers. Have you suffered any backpacking related injuries on or after the trail and what are the most common chronic injuries that people deal with from backpacking?

02-01-2011, 20:13
Aching feet.

02-01-2011, 20:24
According to Dr. Martin Z. Kanner (emphasis added):

"In order of frequency, the most common significant injuries associated with walking/hiking include:

* ankle and foot sprains
* calf muscle strains
* hip bursitis
* hamstring strains
* foot and ankle fractures
* Achilles tendon tears"

02-01-2011, 20:56
I have fewer problems the more I hike, as paradoxical as that sounds. My first hikes I had problems with achilles tendonitis and sore knees, probably tendons there as well. Those problems went away with reduced pack load and boot weight. As I increased my mileage, I would get the aching feet that would take months to recover from. But that has gone away too, maybe with better fitting shoes, the right insoles, better resting, eating, hydration--more experience, in short.

In addition to the muscular and structural problems Spokes mentioned, I've also seen plenty of skin injuries--burns, boils, severe rashes, and frostbite once. Skin care is very important on a hike, and not just the obvious blisters.

02-01-2011, 22:21
From my observation along trails I would have to place Blisters, from the boot top down as the most common injury. I've seen people hobble with twisted ankles, but few can do that with bad blisters.

02-01-2011, 22:37
Skin care is very important on a hike, and not just the obvious blisters.

Some now reading and planning through hikes will not be aware they will begin their journeys before leaf-out or realize its ultimate impact upon their plans. Sunlight without cloud cover or protection afforded by a canopy of leaves and/or clothing leads to sunburn of unprotected epidermis. It's not likely to do your eyes much good either.:eek::sun

02-01-2011, 22:46
I used to get tiny tears on the tendons that go up the outside of the ankle bone. Usually this would occur on very long descents and feels light being stung by yellow jackets on your legs. This went away when I switched out of high top boots. Knee problems decreased dramatically too. Got my pack weight down to under 30 soaking wet, and that has been the biggest help with aches and pains.


02-01-2011, 22:52
Oh yeah, and plantar fasciaitis. This condition feeds on itself. Once the tendon becomes irritated, it helps to alleviate the discomfort while hiking by stepping on peaked objects like roots and pointy rocks. That actually worsens the problem, but it's kind of like scratching bug bites til they bleed.


Jim Adams
02-01-2011, 23:10
blisters and sprains / strains.


Spirit Walker
02-01-2011, 23:15
On the trail, I'd say blisters and tendonitis are very common short term issues. The most common chronic problem caused by hiking would be knee damage. The AT destroyed my knees and worsened my husband's bad knee. He also developed Morton's neuroma from hiking. (Wide feet got wider.)