by Diane Spicer
You probably won't be looking for information about hip injury prevention for hikers unless you're already dealing with sore hips after a hike.
The Mayo Clinic says that hip pain can be caused by many things, including serious medical conditions such as pinched nerves, chronic medical conditions, and recent injuries.
Here, let's consider the aches and hip soreness associated with hiking.
This type of pain could be part of normal wear and tear in your hip joints, increasing in likelihood as you age.
It could be a result of recent weight gain.
Or it could be a little postcard from your pelvic area, begging for some hiking gear changes like a new backpack or different boots.
assume there is something that you can do to alleviate, or at least
lessen, the pain in your hips during and after your hike.
Brace yourself! Here comes that pesky P word!
Hip injury prevention for hikers is really important, because the bones in your hip (pelvic) area transfer the weight of your hiking backpack away from your backbone (spine, vertebrae).
If and when something goes wrong, you'll have hip soreness, stiff hips, and sometimes chronic pain to deal with after a hike.
And every hiker knows that sore hips and hiking pain are no fun as you are trying to stride down the trail toward a gorgeous destination.
Worse yet, hip injuries might discourage -or prohibit- you from hiking. No fun at all!!
So paying attention to your hips BEFORE they start to hurt is a smart trail move.
I'm guessing that's why you're reading this. So let's give you some ideas to try.
How to keep yourself out of hip trouble?
Or lessen the pain after a hike?
Wear the proper hiking gear.
And by proper, think proper for your height, weight, and type of hiking.
Invest time and money in the basics.
Believe it or not, wearing the wrong foot wear on a hike can show up as hip pain.
Another trick to try: lace your boots differently.
And a pack that's too big for you? With a hip belt that doesn't fit?
These will put stress on your hips and back.
Hopefully, avoiding hip soreness might be as easy as trying a different backpack.
Or adding trekking poles to your gear list.
So be sure you do!
'Cuz you're worth it ;)
If you're confident that your hiking gear is fit for purpose, think about these things:
Are you getting the idea that you need to be your own detective in getting to the bottom of why your hips hurt after a hike?
Now for some tips for how to deal with the pain.
If you've tweaked your
gear, and are using hiking poles
during each hike to help transfer weight from your pelvis,
AND you are addressing the soft tissues in this area (muscles, ligaments and tendons) by stretching and staying hydrated,
have you tried some self care to cut
How about a five minute hip self massage using a homemade "ice cup"? (You just can't have more fun than this!)
If the idea of a self-applied ice massage doesn't float your boat, try a professional massage therapy session focused on your sore hips.
A trained therapist knows all about hip injury prevention for hikers.
If you haven't discovered the post-hike magic of Epsom salts yet, here's your chance.
Bonus points for sipping water as you soak.
If you feel less sore afterwards, remember this little self care routine for future painful hip episodes.
Above all, don't be discouraged. Work out the best pre-hike and post-hike self care routine for your hiking goals.
When was the last time you thought about the bones in your hip area?
C'mon, be honest!
Don't you think about your hips whenever you pull on a pair of jeans?
(Or is it just me?)
Once the jeans are on, you probably don't focus on the bones beneath all of the (ahem!) muscles of your hips, do you?
Hip injury prevention for hikers actually begins by looking at the design of your pelvis and these associated soft tissues.
So just a bit of anatomy, to round out these suggestions for hip injury prevention for hikers!
Hip bones are a fusion of several smaller bones that build a bowl for your internal organs, the so-called "pelvic basin".
As females, our pelvic bones have a different flare to them than males.
We are built to deliver babies! We need room for pushing out the newborn, right?
And that's a basic anatomical fact that many outdoor gear manufacturers don't pay attention to, although that's beginning to change rapidly as more and more women hit the trail.
So rejoice with me over this fact:
You might also see the word pelvic "girdle" ("gird" refers to strength) when reading about hip pain or hip injury prevention for hikers.
And one more thing about hip bones:
To pull this hip anatomy all together, the word "hip" can refer to:
So don't be too eager to "borrow" a solution that works for your trail buddy.
I think we agree that hip aches and pains are no fun for a hiker.
And we also agree that hip injury prevention for hikers is the way to go.
And perhaps we can agree that it's up to you to play detective until you figure out what's going on when hip pain and soreness crops up, starting with the self care tweaks and experimental gear adjustments outlined here.
Because hip injury prevention for hikers is not a straightforward topic, be careful about "borrowing" advice that works for a hiking buddy.
Get to the bottom of your own situation by paying attention to the signals your body sends you.
Keeping a "hip pain diary" is a good first step in your trail journal.
Pain is a message.
What are your hips trying to tell you?
Maybe they're whispering a request for some hip injury prevention for hikers!
More hiking self care tips here.
> Hip Injury Prevention For Hikers
About the author
Diane is the founder of Hiking For Her.
She’s been on a hiking trail somewhere in the world for nearly five decades & loves to share her best hiking tips right here.
All rights reserved.
Photo credits: All photos on this website were taken by David Midkiff or Diane Spicer except where noted.
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