For many outdoor enthusiasts, warm weather signals the start of hiking season! Hiking is a great way to spend time outdoors and get fit this fall. However, if you do plan on hitting the trails, make sure your feet are prepared for the dangers hiking may pose by following these important tips:
- Wear the right shoes: although your cross-training athletic shoes can be sufficient for short hikes, they won’t give your feet the support needed for extended hikes. For those long hikes, the best option is a pair of lightweight hiking boots that cushion and support your feet. This is crucial to avoid common hiking injuries such as ankle sprains or strained Achilles tendons.
- Wear socks that provide the right amount of cushion. When choosing hiking socks, you want a pair that provides a balance between cushion and breathability. Too thin and they won’t provide enough protection against blisters. Too thick and your feet will be sweating like a sauna. Most hikers opt for socks made from merino wool or synthetic materials, such as nylon or Coolmax.
- Rest your feet. Even with the right shoes and socks, hiking for extended periods of time on sloped and uneven terrain is going to cause some foot pain and swelling. This is especially true for novice hikers who haven’t conditioned properly before hitting the trail. If you start to experience this during your hike, it is important to rest for a few minutes. When resting, try to elevate your feet to decrease swelling
- Don’t ignore blisters or other painful problems. If blisters do develop, make sure you give them time to heal before your next hiking session. This is especially important if you’re a diabetic, as aggravating a blister can lead to much more serious complications.
Hiking can be a great source of physical activity for your body, but if you’re harming your feet while doing it, it’s not worth it! If your hiking hobby has led to any persistent foot and ankle pain, make sure you get it checked out by a foot and ankle specialist immediately! Make an appointment at the Advanced Foot and Ankle Care Center location nearest you to make sure you’re back on the trails in no time!