Friday, March 20, 2015

Foot Care

Caring for your feet while hiking is a vital part of the trail experience. Take it from one who had to abandon a hike for a small irritated blister under one toe – issues with feet can wreak havoc on your
plans. Proper care of feet ahead of time can help avoid a lot of misery on the trail and also avoid injury.

Hiking shoes are really a personal preference in many instances. I have worn both boots and trail runners and am now a convert when it comes to using trail runners for East Coast trails. The lightweight ability of these shoes, the quick drying capacity in wet, soggy conditions, and the ability to navigate rocky terrain have all helped me remain with this type of footwear. But I also made sure I got checked by a professional when buying shoes. I went to a professional running shop and had them evaluate my foot type for the type of shoe I needed. I ended up with what is called a motion control shoe because I pronate. Different shoe types, based on construction, can make your foot, then your leg and hip, move differently. Ill-fitting footwear can affect not only your foot but can cause knee and hip issues and even injuries. Hence the need for a foot professional to make sure you are wearing the right type of shoe for your foot. I also go with a size larger shoe than my foot size as well.
Trail Runners dry ultra quick after being in slush

I am a big believer in proper insoles. This can take some doing as there are so many to choose from. A professional can help you determine what type will work. I actually worked with a physical therapist after having some nerve issues in my calf, and he recommended the blue Superfeet. I have worn them ever since. Get a professional opinion on the right insole to match your foot type. It adds to the support of your foot and makes for a better journey and less injury.

Socks are very important to help minimize pressure points and blister formation. Going with a good merino wool blend helps to wick moisture way from your foot which can cause blisters. DO NOT wear cotton “gym” type socks. As your foot sweats, they get wet, stay wet, and the moisture will make you suffer with blisters that will pop up after only a few miles of walking. In a follow-up blog I will rate a few socks I have tried.

Foot Care
Make sure you are doing proper foot care on your journey. Whenever you stop, take off your shoes, remove the insoles, and take off your socks. Let them all dry in the sun if possible and air out your feet. You will find instant relief if they are feeling hot and tired. Also, be sure you are carrying a proper first aid kit (with duct tape, band aids, etc) should there be issues with hot spots and blister formation. Check out the blog on blister care should they happen.

Your feet will take you wherever you need to go on your hiking journey with some proper care and TLC

1 comment:

Rachel Benson said...

I like your suggestion to have a professional help you pick out a good insole for your foot. My husband wants to do a lot of hiking this summer and I want to be prepared with good equipment to help reduce my foot pain. It seems like having good shoes, socks and insoles could really help make your hiking adventures a little more enjoyable.