Remmert Hinlopen is the owner and is a registered physiotherapist at FusionPhysio Chilliwack.

Remmert Hinlopen is the owner and is a registered physiotherapist at FusionPhysio Chilliwack.

COLUMN: Tips for hiking season

Physiotherapist Remmert Hinlopen talks injury prevention on the trails

This season we have been lucky with some incredible weather and it’s clear that hiking season is in full swing.

Realistically, in British Columbia, one can hike year round but with the warm spring temperatures, the mountain passes became more accessible earlier, and hikers were heading out into the deeper and steeper terrain.

Before you start getting out and exploring the amazing backyard that the Fraser Valley has to offer, let’s sit back and talk about injury prevention. Having been a local physiotherapist and avid hiker for over 30 years, I would like to share a few life/work lessons to make sure your hiking experiences are happy ones for the entire season and many years to come. By being smart about what we do now, we can hopefully achieve more in the long term!

There are a few things that you should consider:

1. Get in hiking shape first by prepping yourself phy sically. This can simply be going on walks around the neighbourhood for longer periods of time, around an hour. After a few times around the block, add some hill repeats into your program. Stairs are also a great addition, lucky enough Promontory has a few sets for you to try.

2. Shoes! Good supportive shoes with a firm heel cup so your ankles and their muscles have to do less overtime work to balance on uneven terrain. Look for good shock absorbing qualities so there is less pressure on the joints. Proper size is also a must. Trust me, many have done hikes on plastic flip-flops or boat shoes and suffered for weeks after so please do ensure you wear proper shoes. Tighten your shoes laces properly; tighten them more for downhill and a little less tight for uphill but still a snug fit. By tightening them, you give yourself more stability in the ankle joint, which means less extra work for the muscles and less pressure on the knee and hips joints.

3. If you have to tackle a steep uphill or downhill part of the trail, traverse zig-zag, sideways or ess-shaped rather than tackling it straight on. This is essentially just making your own mini-switchbacks on wide trails and will constantly change the loading of your joints and reduce the chance of creating an overuse injury.

4. Change socks halfway. Dry socks reduce the chance of blisters and we all know how quickly blisters can ruin a good trip.

5. Stay hydrated to avoid cramping up. This is especially true on hot days. Water is most likely enough, but if you are out for long hours then a drink with electrolytes can be beneficial to replenish what you lose over time.

6. Last but not least, the benefits for using hiking poles!

a: Less loading on your knees. According to a study published on pub-med.gov, the compressive forces endured by the knees during downhill walking were three to four times greater when compared to level walking. Using poles can reduce the pressure on your hips, ankles and knees by 20 to 30 per cent during the hike. A few things come into play. First, you are unloading some of your body weight on your arms. Second, you are hiking more in an upright position, which is more an efficient way of loading the lower extremity joints. Third, by using the poles, you are more balanced, so your joints are taking less sideways pressure and therefore less strain, especially on the ankle and knees and also some into the hips.

b: They encourage core muscle usage because when pushing off with your poles you engage those core muscles at the same time automatically. Nice!

c: Using the poles can help fall prevention.

d: They will increase your walking tolerance and speed due to reduced pain and better efficiency.

e: To enjoy hiking for a long time, make sure you use them properly. This means about a 90 degrees bend in the elbow if you grip them with the ends touching the ground. Lower them a little when going uphill and extend them when going downhill. It will all depend on how steep the trail is of course.

Remmert Hinlopen is the owner and is a registered physiotherapist at FusionPhysio Chilliwack, www.fusionphysiochilliwack.com.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lorne Seifred (seen here with his dog Char-Lee on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021) and friends Elaine and John Sowik launched Chilliwack Pet Food Bank and More with the hopes of helping pet owners who are struggling to provide their furry family members with food. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Animal owners launch pet food bank in Chilliwack

‘Anywhere we can help, whether it be elderly or someone down on their luck or homeless’

Sam Darkoh in his music video ‘Ruby Fever’ which was shot in Yarrow. (Sterling Gold Production)
VIDEO: Yarrow, Chilliwack backdrop for professionally shot music video of Aldergrove rapper

Lots of hospitality, kind people while filming Ruby Fever, says hip-hop artist Sam Darkoh

Brian VanGarderen is one of four candidates running in the Chilliwack School Board byelection on Feb. 13, 2021. (Submitted photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack byelection candidate would like to see district-wide connections

Brian Vangarderen hopes Chilliwack school board will focus on policy making and positive connections

Chilliwack is expected to be among the province’s hottest real estate markets in 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)
Chilliwack housing market projected to be among B.C.’s hottest in 2021

B.C. Real Estate Association projects Chilliwack and District to grow by 17.1 per cent

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon. (Submitted)
Chilliwack-Kent MLA Kelli Paddon funding equity and social change scholarships

One of the scholarships is open to any graduating student in the Chilliwack-Kent electoral district

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Most Read