Outdoor First Aid

Sprained Ankles: Watch Your Step

The latest health news reveals that ankle injuries are more common than you'd think. Here's some beta.

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A sprained ankle is more likely to ruin your next hike than dehydration, hypothermia, or other often-feared medical problems, according to two studies recently published in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. A three-year record of medical incidents on trips led by the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) concluded that more than half of all injuries primarily affected the knees and ankles. And a report analyzing a 10-year span of backcountry evacuations by Yosemite Search and Rescue arrived at a similar conclusion. The take-home lesson: While looking out for bears and snakes is smart, the most important thing you can do for safety is to watch your footing.