Hiking is a big section of many people’s lives. It can be a great way to get out of the city and see some fresh air, take in some natural scenery, and relax after a long day at work. But it’s also an incredibly challenging physical activity that comes with its fair share of risks. This blog post will protect a few essential tips that anyone who plans to go hiking with a torn ACL should know beforehand. Walking with a torn ACL can be done safely in most cases, but it requires some planning and precautions to keep your recovery as stress-free and comfortable as possible.
Hiking With a Torn ACL
Get Your ACL Ready
Before hiking for the first time with a torn ACL, make sure you are as ready as possible. Below are some things you can do before you go hiking.
- Make sure to get a doctor’s clearance. ACL injuries tend to be very sensitive, so you don’t want to injure your leg or overexert yourself. Ensure you have a doctor’s clearance before you start doing any strenuous hiking.
- Make sure you have any required medications that you need. Certain medications may make your ACL injury worse, so make sure you know any required medications you may be taking. Ensure you have all the items that you’ll need while hiking. You don’t want to be scrambling outdoors with a torn ACL and bad shoulder joint injury, so make sure to bring all the supplies you’ll need.
- Make sure you have a first-aid kit with you. While ACL injuries are done almost exclusively on the lower leg, there are still plenty of things you’ll need to treat an ankle joint injury.
- Keep Your Ankle Strap On
If you are hiking with a torn ACL, you’ll need to wear a bandage or splint on your ankle to keep it stabilized and safely supported and also make sure you ware hiking shoes. This will ensure that your ankle joint stays in the proper position and doesn’t roll or twist out of place. Please make sure you wear your bandage or splint while hiking and make sure it is tight enough to keep your ankle in place while making all the hiking motions, but not so close that it causes any pain.
A good rule of thumb is to loosen your ankle bandage or splint while hiking a little bit at a time and see if that alleviates any pain you are experiencing. If it doesn’t, try tightening it a little bit more and see if that helps. It would help if you every time tried to keep your ankle strap as loose as possible while hiking so that it does not cause any pain or discomfort.
Know When You Should Stop
If your ACL injury is severe enough, you may need to stop hiking before getting to the trailhead. In many cases, people serious about getting back in shape and hiking with a torn ACL will begin by walking on the treadmill.
This will help you get your joints and muscles in shape and increase your stamina before attempting to hike again. If you are hiking with a torn ACL and have severe pain, swelling, or instability in your ankle, you should stop walking immediately and get back to see your doctor.
Don’t Overdo It
With any new physical activity comes the potential for injury. Hiking with a torn ACL is no different. You can get seriously injured if you push yourself too hard, overexert yourself, or do it when you are out of shape. When you are starting to hike with a torn ACL, you’ll want to keep your activity level low and safe. Your goal should be to walk as far as you can, take breaks whenever you need them, and avoid running, sprinting, or jumping when you are hiking.
Know the Risks of Hiking With a Torn ACL
Incredibly high risk of re-injury. If you have a torn ACL, you are at an incredibly high risk of re-injuring your ACL while hiking. Some people may only have a 2-5% chance of re-injuring their ACL while hiking, but the odds are much higher for someone with a torn ACL.
Ineffective walking. It will be tough to walk even short distances when you have a torn ACL. You may be able to walk a few steps but then find yourself falling over, limping, and using your hands to help you walk. - Serious shoulder injury. While ACL injuries are prevalent, they are severe. The risk of having a shoulder injury is significantly higher with a torn ACL.
Increased risk of a hip injury. Because hiking requires so much balance and strength in your legs and requires you to push off the ground with your foot and start your forward momentum, hiking with a torn ACL puts you at a slightly multiply the risk of damaging your hip joint.
Hiking is a gratifying hobby and sport that can be done safely with a torn ACL. It is essential to know your limits, be careful, and use proper techniques while hiking with a torn ACL to help prevent re-injury and keep yourself safe. As long as you follow these tips, you should be able to safely and effectively hike with a torn ACL. Keep your ankle strap on, get your ankle/limb ready, ensure you have all the supplies you’ll need, and don’t overdo it.