Importance of Preexisting Physical Factors in the Development of Dermatological and Muscular Lesions During Hiking

Int J Low Extrem Wounds. 2019 Jun;18(2):161-170. doi: 10.1177/1534734619845600. Epub 2019 May 8.


Hiking has become very popular due to the physical and mental health benefits it provides. Skin lesions may occur with hiking and various factors contribute to their development. Although some lesions may appear to have little importance, something as simple as chaffing can cause serious ulcers in people with at-risk feet. Few studies have analyzed preexisting physical characteristics in hiking and addressed the development of lesions in hikers. This observational and longitudinal study examines the development of foot lesions during hiking, taking into account the influence of existing skin disorders, nail disorders, and/or toe deformities and other intrinsic factors of participants. The feet of 109 hikers doing a 29.6-km hike were analyzed, considering the intrinsic factors of participants and the possible influence of these factors in the development of foot lesions during the walk. The results show that some preexisting physical factors of participants such as gender, existing systemic disease, preexisting keratosis, dermatosis, nontraumatic and traumatic onychopathies, and toe deformities significantly predispose to the development of skin lesions. These factors also predispose to muscle lesions except for nontraumatic and traumatic onychopathies and toe deformities. Due to the influence of preexisting physical factors, such as preexisting keratosis, dermatosis, and toe deformities, in the development of foot lesions in hikers, it is worthwhile and advisable to check these factors before a hike to reduce the incidence of foot disorders. Ensuring adequate podiatry treatment a few days before the walk and warmup of muscles properly before starting are recommended.

Keywords: blister; foot; hiker; intrinsic physical factors; logistic regression; skin.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Foot Dermatoses / epidemiology*
  • Foot Dermatoses / physiopathology
  • Foot Diseases / epidemiology
  • Foot Diseases / physiopathology
  • Foot Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Foot Injuries / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Recreation*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / physiopathology
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Soft Tissue Injuries / physiopathology
  • Spain
  • Walking*