As a hiker, you put your feet under a lot of stress. You shove them into socks and boots, and then spend the day climbing up rock faces, wading through streams and trekking through the forest. Foot ailments, such as corns, tendonitis and even stress fractures are common among avid hikers. These ailments are a lot easier to prevent than they are to treat! Follow these foot care tips to reduce your risk of injury and soreness.
Soak your feet in Epsom salts after every hike.
Epsom salts work wonders for sore feet. They help draw toxins out of the soft tissue in your feet, reducing inflammation that may eventually lead to injuries if left unaddressed. They also soften your skin, which helps prevent calluses and corns from developing. Use ½ cup Epsom salts in a 5-gallon pail of warm water, and soak your feet for 20 minutes.
Trim your toenails properly.
Many people make the mistake of trimming their toenails in a curved shape. This contributes to the development of ingrown toenails, especially when your feet spend a lot of time in hiking boots. Always trim your toenails straight across, and keep them short to avoid ingrown toenails. If you do notice an ingrown toenail developing, visit a podiatrist at a clinic like Mitchell Foot & Ankle rather than attempting to trim it yourself. He or she will trim it in such a way as to prevent it from growing into your toe again.
Wear moisture-wicking socks in your hiking boots.
Moisture makes you more prone to blisters, which are not only painful, but put you at risk of infection. Keep your feet dry by always wearing moisture-wicking socks. Also carry an extra pair of socks in your pack, and change them if your feet become wet during the hike.
Do foot-strengthening exercises between hikes.
If you take a few weeks off from hiking, your feet won't be as strong when you head down the trail again, and you'll be prone to injuries like tendonitis. Protect yourself by performing foot-strengthening exercises between hikes. Toe raises are easy to perform. Stand barefoot on the floor, and then rise onto your toes. After waiting five seconds, go back down onto your flat feet. Another easy foot exercise is to trace the alphabet in the air with your toes. This stretches and strengthens the muscles through your ankles and arches.
As a hiker, your feet are your most essential tool. Take the time to care for them properly, and they'll carry you to many more beautiful vistas.