Rucking and Injury
Rucking, or hiking with a pack over varied terrain, is a common activity. From day hikes among recreational nature enthusiasts to full on combat hikes performed by military forces to thru-hikes along long trails by people who chose to spend months or longer in nature.
After all, if you remove mechanical assistance and don’t have a horse, your legs are essentially what has to carry food, water, shelter, fire, communications, medicine and anything else you want.
Back strains, meniscal tears and ankle sprains are all common. The most under reported but common injury we see is stress fractures. High frequency rucking, particularly if you have been previously sedentary, will reshape your feet, ankles and lower limbs. The repeated load and impact can cause minor stress fractures in the feet and tibia. Moderating the load, distance, speed of movement and general nutrition and known to affect the rate of stress fractures. Build up slowly, let your body adapt to distance, load and frequency. Get faster over time as you adapt (just like with running) and make sure you’re getting enough calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A and D and collagen to ensure healthy bone matrix growth.
In the event of a hairline fracture, weeks or months of hiking season may be lost depending on severity and location.