Hiking is a great activity. Being prepared is essential, but accidents, falls, trips can happen. Musculoskeletal injuries such as fractures, sprains and dislocations are among the most common injuries that can occur in the home, at work, sports and recreations. The general first aid for most bones, joint and muscle injuries involves 4 steps:
1. R = rest
2. I =ice
3. C = compression
4. E = Elevation
Any movement of musculoskeletal injury can cause further injury. Rest is important for healing. (Follow instructions of your healthcare provider) ICE applied to a musculoskeletal injury reduces swelling. Cold works best if applied to the injury as soon as possible (within 10 minutes). Do not apply ice directly over the injury; cover injury with a cloth. Apply ice for 20 minutes every hour. Compression (ACE bandage) provides comfort and support, preventing swelling. The bandage should be wrapped over the injured area, starting at least 2 inches below the injury and using overlapping turns for at least 2 inches above the injury. Monitor and follow instructions from your healthcare provider. Elevation uses gravity to help slow the blood flow to the injury, assisting in minimizing swelling and internal bleeding. First apply the cold and compression bandage (can be applied over the ice and removed after 20 minutes-repeat within 1 hour) and elevate the extremity. DO NOT ELEVATE IF SUSPECTED FRACTURE, DISLOCATION OR INJURED EXTREMITY DOES NOT MOVE AT ALL).
Remember, safety first!
Have fun, be safe.
Johnnita Woods Parker, RN BSN NHDP-BC
National Safety Council Instructor
*follow advice of healthcare provider