Hiking injuries such as fractures and sprains are two of the most common injuries that happen while hiking. There are two types of fractures, a simple fracture and a compound fracture. You should always be prepared for both on your hiking trip. A simple fracture can be identified by swelling, tenderness, pain, loss of mobility, and feeling or hearing a bone crack or snap. A simple fracture not treated can turn into a more serious compound fracture. Sometimes while hiking people feel the need to just brush things off and continue with their hike. Continuing while injured will not only be uncomfortable, but could lead to permanent damage.
If there is a chance that you fractured a bone you need to stop moving immediately. Your goal is to immobilize the fractured area. Ok, If the wounded limb is a finger then tape or tie the finger to an adjacent finger. Now let’s say the lower arm is fractured, splint the forearm and use a sling to immobilize it. In case it is the upper arm is fractured then put the arm in a sling and bandage it to the chest. If it is a leg that is fractured then splint it or if the person can be carried, bind the legs together using the other leg as a natural splint. Sometimes have to be creative in finding a splint. A splint can really be made of anything, a piece of wood, a rolled up magazine or newspaper, or even a tightly rolled up jacket.
A splint can be anything that is straight and sturdy enough to stay straight. After getting a splint on try to elevate the fractured limb to slow the blood flow. A compound fracture is a fracture that breaks through the skin. This is much more serious and you should get help immediately and not try to move the injured person. There will be a lot of bleeding from the compound fracture but you cannot put pressure on it to stop the bleeding. Splint the limb and try to cover the wound with a sterile pad or bandage and wait for help. This is why you should always carry a first aid kit and never hike by yourself. Another injury that could happen while hiking is a sprain. A sprain is where the ligaments tear from a joint.
Hiking boots provide support for the ankle to help avoid this and to offer support should it happen. Ankle sprains are characterized by sudden pain, an inability to support weight, bruising, swelling, and tenderness. The best thing to do is to rest the ankle, apply a cold compress or ice for at least ten minutes, firmly bandage it for support, and elevate it. Sprains are more common than fractures and fortunately if they are taken care of and not ignored, it shouldn’t completely ruin your hiking trip.