Autumn is a time when many New Zealanders like to hike or tramp, and enjoy the breath-taking scenery our country is so blessed with. The weather is cooler and as the leaves turn, the autumn colours are a sight to behold. It would be such a shame for the joys of tramping to be spoiled by aching feet or any serious injury. Here are four tips to eliminate foot pain while hiking.
1. If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit Don’t Wear It
I know this sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised at some of the mistakes people often making when choosing footwear. If you are simply going on a light-weight backpacking day-trip; light-weight boots, trail-runners or cross-trainers are the best options. Obviously, they must fit your foot but they also need to be breathable and flexible. A good tip to remember is to buy your shoes one size larger than you would normally wear to compensate for swelling, which happens quite often while hiking. Many of the older, traditional, and heavy leather boots can cause injury simply due to their stiffer and less flexible fit.
2. Don’t Carry The Kitchen Sink On Your Back
Again, this sounds fairly obvious, but some people tend to over-pack. The extra weight will intensify every vibration caused by each step. If it is an all-day trip your chances of injuries such as: shin splints, heel spurs, blisters and plantar fasciitis increase rapidly. Bring only the bare essentials and spare your feet the harmful impact of heavy gear. The only sounds you should be making are the oohs and aahs appreciating the beauty before you – not the moans and groans associated with the pain going on beneath you.
3. Cushion Your Tootsies
There is nothing worse than sweaty feet! But then again, blisters are no tramp in the park either! Therefore, you must pick the right sock –it cannot be too thick, because your feet really need to breath. Your socks should not be too thin or you will not have the type of cushion you need to protect you from the impact and possible abrasions caused from your shoes. Running socks or any light-weight hiking socks will do just fine.
4. Stop The Shock And Support Those Arches
Shock absorption and arch support are incredibly important for healthy feet. Most hiking shoes come with chintzy, sub-standard foam insoles. It may cost a bit more, but it would be a great idea to get some better quality insoles. As an added bonus, long after your hiking shoes have lost their get up and go, the insoles you bought can still be used. It is well worth the money and good for your soles.
If you do happen to suffer from any of the injuries above, come in to Healthy Steps Podiatry and we will get you back out hiking and enjoying our beautiful country as soon as possible.
Author: Angelique Owenby