Spraining your ankle is painful. After the pain of tearing ligaments comes the swelling. Don’t expect instant recovery – it can take up to six weeks – and serious sprains may require surgery. Reduce the swelling with ice which, naturally, you have brought with you in a thermos or chilly container for just such a contingency. You can’t rely on there being a cold mountain stream nearby when you crick an ankle.
Not only does the physical activity of hiking release endorphins in your brain, hiking in sunshine can increase their number. The risk of sunburn is that much greater, particularly if you’re 914m (3,000ft) up a mountain. It stands to reason: you’re closer to the sun.
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Always wear a high-factor suncream and apply it often. This is useful for bluffers just beginning their hiking experiences, because it gives them an additional excuse to stop for a rest. And don’t forget that hat: the wider the brim the better. But draw the line at sombreros.
Chafing is like blisters. The cause is the same – friction generated by something rubbing against the body – only in more embarrassing places. Armpits, shoulders, legs and the groin areas are most common. For many hikers, lubrication is the best solution, with petroleum jelly being the favoured choice. Always apply your own, never anyone else’s. Reaching the bottom of your left, shoulder blade may not be easy, and the temptation to ask for help is great, but be aware that you might be asked to reciprocate. And you can never tell where the affected area might be.