why do my hands swell when i hike
Why Do My Hands Swell When I Hike?
Hiking is a great way to get in shape, take in some beautiful scenery, and get your blood pumping. But one of the downsides of hiking is that it often leads to swollen hands. This can be an unwelcome surprise for hikers who weren`t expecting their wrists and fingers to swell up after a long day outdoors. So, what causes this phenomenon, and what can hikers do to avoid it?
What Causes Swollen Hands While Hiking?
The main cause of swollen hands while hiking is repetitive stress, which irritates the soft tissues of the hands and causes them to swell up. There are many things that contribute to this type of stress, including carrying a backpack for extended periods of time, gripping trekking poles tightly, or walking on uneven terrain. All of these contribute to swelling in different ways.
Carrying a heavy backpack can put a strain on your wrists and fingers as you try to keep them in a fixed position. This can cause inflammation in the muscles and tendons of the hands, resulting in swelling.
Gripping trekking poles tightly can also lead to increased pressure on the wrists and fingers. When a grip is too tight, it restricts blood flow and can cause swelling.
In addition, walking on uneven terrain can put additional strain on the wrists and fingers. This is because the body is constantly adjusting to the changing conditions of the terrain, and this requires extra effort and energy from the hands. The increased effort leads to swelling in the wrists and fingers.
How to Prevent Hand Swelling While Hiking
Fortunately, there are a few simple steps that hikers can take to prevent hand swelling while on the trail.
First, it`s important to make sure that your backpack is not too heavy. The weight of your backpack should never exceed 10-15% of your bodyweight.
Second, it`s important to ensure that you`re not gripping your trekking poles too tightly. Loosen your grip and keep your wrists neutral and relaxed.
Third, it`s important to be mindful of your posture when walking on uneven terrain. Try to take longer strides and engage your core muscles so that your hands don`t have to constantly adjust and strain.
Finally, it`s important to take breaks throughout your hike. This will give your hands a chance to relax and will reduce the strain that they`re under.
Swollen hands while hiking can be both uncomfortable and unsightly, but it`s not something that has to be endured. By following these simple tips, hikers can avoid this very common issue and enjoy more comfortable and successful hikes.