There’s nothing more exhilarating than hiking on a crisp autumn day with fallen leaves crackling beneath your feet. But if you’re not prepared before you head out, your day of enjoying the changing colors of the leaves could result in the changing colors of your feet and ankles from strains, sprains and other injuries sustained along the trail.
To keep your hiking experience more enjoyable, follow these tips before and while you’re on walk.
- Wear top-quality, well-insulated hiking boots. While athletic shoes may do the job for a less strenuous hike, hiking boots are designed to give you proper ankle support to reduce muscle and tendon fatigue and your risk of injury.
- Choose a boot designed for the terrain, weather and the type of hike you’re taking, such as a lighter weight hiking boot if you’re an occasional day hiker; thicker soled boots for hiking on more difficult terrain; boots made of breathable materials for warmer weather climates; waterproof boots if you’re hiking in wet climates or through streams; stiffer boots that come higher up on your ankle for greater support if you’re a hard-core backpacker.
- Ensure your boots fit properly. Refer to the WalkEZStore’s Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on correctly fitting your hiking boots. And if you’re going to be carrying a backpack while hiking, try on your boots with the extra weight on your back. The backpack weight will cause your feet to flatten and spread out, so you want to make sure your boots will still fit once this occurs.
- Wear socks with your hiking boots. Socks can protect your feet from blisters, fungal infections and frostbite. To keep your feet dry, wear moisture-wicking socks like the Thorlo brand. To keep your feet warm and absorb moisture, wear wool socks. However, if wool makes your feet itch, you may want to wear two layers of socks, like a synthetic sock for the first layer and a wool sock for the second layer.
- Always treat any foot conditions, such as corns, calluses or bunions, before you head out on your hike.
- Stretch before your hike to warm up your foot, ankle and leg muscles to prevent injuries.
- If you’re a novice hiker, begin with shorter hikes on less difficult terrain. Gradually add more miles and more difficult terrain to your hiking routine to increase your stamina.
- If you experience pain due to friction while on your hike, stop walking and treat the sore spot immediately. Determine what is rubbing against your skin, adjust your socks, add a moleskin patch or do whatever you need to in order to fix the problem and to prevent further rubbing. Otherwise you may develop a blister.
- If you experience foot or ankle pain, take a break and rest. Don’t continue hiking, otherwise you could risk getting a more serious injury.
- If you injure your feet and ankles while hiking, visit your doctor as soon as possible for treatment.
- If you experience frequent pain in your feet, ankles, knees, hips or lower back, see a podiatrist to determine if you have a biomechanical issue that’s affecting your gait. If you do have a gait problem, a custom orthotic, like the ezWalker® Performance Custom Orthotics, is designed to guide your feet into proper biomechanical alignment. Improper foot biomechanics can lead to painful foot conditions like plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia or Morton’s neuroma. But proactive use of the ezWalker® Custom Orthotic can help prevent this pain in the first place.
By following these tips, your hiking experience should be more pleasurable, so you can enjoy the changing season.
For more information on ezWalker® Performance Custom orthotics, visit the WalkEZStore.com. These orthotics are custom made to your individual feet, providing you with comfort and pain relief for every step you take. So order your ezWalker® Custom Orthotics today! ezWalker® Custom Orthotics make your hiking boots feel like they’re walking for you.
Remember … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®