Post hiking recovery is must-do rule after the trauma the body experiences from a long hike in the wilderness.
Even a well prepared hike can leave joints swollen and muscles achy. But, there are several home remedies to ease and relieve most pain associated with this outdoor activity.
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Post Hiking Recovery
Here are eight steps to relieve the soreness that comes from a long hike:
Start the post hike recovery process by resting the tired muscles as soon as possible. A two to three day lay up might be needed for the really sore shins, ankles, or feet.
Resting with the effected leg elevated (above the heart) is the best method to rest up. Use a stack of pillows or similar to rest in a comfortable and elevated position.
Ice packs should by applied to those areas likely to swell such as a twisted ankle. A frozen bag of peas to a purpose-made cold pack can help in this situation. The entire area of the swelling should be covered to achieve the most effective results.
Use the ice pack at regular intervals over the following 48-72 hours. If the swelling persists after the initial 48-hours, it might benefit to use a combination of ice and heat packs. These should be alternated (change every 25-30 minutes) to provide the desired relief.
Eat low-fat dairy, beans, nuts or similar lean protein to help the muscles repair after the stress of the hike.
Also, take in plenty of fluids. Water or fluid intake should be at least 6-8 glasses per day.
Use gentle exercise even throughout the rest period which should consist of getting up and walking around.
A short walk or static stretches (stretching the calves and quads) will help to avoid issues with the muscles stiffening up.
Soak the body after a hike to provide a useful muscle relaxant. Use warm water with Epsom salts (1 cup) to achieve the best results.
Visit a massage therapist who specializes in deep tissue or sports massage. Using a physical therapy session like this is certain to help ease the pain related to injuries associated with repetitive-stress.
Use acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or other over-the-counter medications to help relieve the pain and discomfort of sore muscles. But, discuss the best course of treatment with a doctor if already taking prescription medication.
For the more persistent aches and pains lasting seven days or more it benefits to visit the family doctor. This can help to rule out the more serious injury.
A sports-medicine physician or orthopedists can run the correct tests to establish the scope of the injury.
Tips to prevent hiking soreness
- Minimize the risks of sore feet or twisted ankles by wearing the proper hiking boots or shoes to match the hiking trail.
- Warm up before starting the hike with stretches and short moderate-intensity walks.
- Avoid carrying a backpack that is too heavy for the body frame and level of fitness.
- Wear proper hiking socks such as those with a moisture-wicking material to prevent blisters developing.
- Pack a first-aid kit to match the hiking environment.
- Use hiking poles on the long or difficult hikes.
- Get the proper fluid (use a water bottle or hydration pack) and food (fresh or dried fruit, trail mix, etc.) intake while on the trails.