Hiking: Enjoy the outdoors without foot pain this summer!

Hiking: Enjoy the outdoors without foot pain this summer!

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For those that love the outdoors, these summer months mean it’s the perfect time to get into the bush and hit the trails! Whether you’re hiking, tramping or doing a day trip to check out some beautiful You Yangs Regional Park, having your feet sorted means a much more enjoyable experience for everyone. In fact, getting sore feet and blisters during extended walking on various terrains has shown to have a 100% dissatisfaction rating by those we’ve talked to* and 100% of these people highly recommend against it*. So we thought we’d throw together some tips to help you care for your feet while you get out and make the most of these warmer months!

*These statistic were created on 100% common sense and from 100% of patients that had a bad experience tramping or hiking and ended up in our clinic with pain. 

Choose good shoes and make sure they’re broken-in 

Whatever you do, do not start a hike or tramp in new shoes. We understand they’re probably awesome but they will also cause you a lot of pain if you haven’t gradually worn them in! You can break them in by wearing them around the home, taking your dog for a short walk, and so on. Take a couple of weeks to break them on before you take them on any adventures. Here are a few tips if you’re buying new shoes:

  • You want to make sure the toes have a little bit of room at the toes. Not too much, or they’ll be sliding around and rubbing. Not too little, or they will be too tight and cause your toes a lot of pain.
  • When you’re trying on boots, do so in the afternoon where your feet will have swollen a little from being on your feet all day
  • Make sure to try them on with the same thickness of socks that you’ll be hiking in!

Avoid blisters

 Blisters are the foe of any seasoned walker, hiker or tramper. Blisters result from friction (rubbing), which is no surprise during a hike where closed in shoes are paired with uneven terrain and long periods of time on the feet. To minimise the risk of developing blisters, you can:

  • Ensure footwear is comfortable and not too tight
  • Don’t wear new shoes on a long walk – hike in broken in shoes
  • Keep your feet dry as much as possible (bring spare socks!)
  • Cushion or strap any known problem areas

To learn more about blisters, you can check out our previous blog on blisters here.

Keep the toenails short 

This is an often overlooked but important element to a successful hike. Keeping the toenails trimmed means they won’t painfully push into the front of your boots, especially on downward slopes. Your nails can otherwise snap (and snap of part of the healthy and attached nail) or bruise the nail bed, meaning aches and pains.

Socks, socks, socks

Socks can definitely be a make or break for your adventure, so make sure you bring spares. Wet socks encourage blistering and rubbing, so change them when you’re able. When you sit down for a rest or set in for the evening, keep some socks on even if you don’t keep your shoes on. This will protect your feet from bites that’ll have you itching through the night. Rock that epic sock/flip-flop combo!

Ready, set, lace!

Getting a fantastic boot and doing a poor job of lacing it is like buying the best fishing rod but pairing it with terrible hooks and bait – it looks good from the outside but will do a terrible job overall. You want to lace it tightly enough to keep the heel firmly in the back of the boot without cutting off the blood supply to the feet. Here’s a video with some great lacing techniques and information based on your foot type:

If you do develop any pains or aches in your feet this summer, come in and see our expert team at Sole Motion Podiatry. There’s nothing worse than putting up with painful feel longer than you have to and letting them stop you from doing the activities that you love.

To book an appointment or for more information, give us a call on 1300-FX-FEET

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