Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to avoid, treat hiking sprains, strains

Sprains occur when a ligament supporting a joint is stretched or torn. Ankles particularly are likely to suffer sprains among hikers. Closely related is a strain, which is when tendons or muscles are torn because they were overstretched.

Avoid sprains and strains by wear hiking boots that provide ankle support.

Symptoms of either a sprain or a strain include pain, tenderness and limited range of motion all in the affected area.

To treat, rest the affected area. If a victim must leave the area, help them walk and carry their backpack for them. Lightly apply the breakable ice pack, or your handkerchief soaked in cold water, over the sprain or strain. Place soft padding, secured with gauze, over the affected area. Elevate the affected area above the heart to reduce swelling and bruising.

Don’t have your children try to “walk it off.” They won’t be able to.

Related articles:
g Treating children's cuts and wounds on hiking trail
g Avoiding and treating child dehydration on the trail
g How to avoid and treat nosebleeds
g How to avoid and treat hiking kids' muscle cramps

Read more about day hiking with children in my guidebook Hikes with Tykes.