Spring is here, which means it’s almost time to dust off the hiking boots and hit some of the scenic trails here in Minnesota. Hiking is a great way to spend the afternoon and get some exercise, but long excursions can take a toll on our feet. Today, we share four tips for keeping your feet pain free while going on a hike.
Foot Pain and Hiking
The best way to prevent foot problems as a result of hiking are to plan ahead and use some common sense. If you prepare for a problem, you can prevent it before it snowballs out of control. These tips all relate back to this initial piece of advice.
1. Quality Hiking Shoe – The best way to protect your feet when going out for a hike is to invest in a high quality hiking boot. If you try to hike in athletic shoes or a cheap hiking boot, you may find your socks getting wet or that you don’t have a lot of grip on the bottom of your shoe, which is essential for walks through steep or damp areas. Check out this guide we put together on what to look for in a hiking boot.
2. Slowly Build Up Your Hiking Distance – It’s probably not the best idea to make your first seasonal hike a 5-hour excursion along the Mississippi River. This is especially true if you’re breaking in new boots, because you don’t know exactly how they’ll rub against your feet. To prevent issues like blisters, shin splints and stress injuries, start slow and work your way up to longer hikes.
3. Breathability – A wet sock can lead to a rash or blisters, so it’s imperative that you try and keep your feet nice and dry during your hike. That’s easier said than done, however, as longer hikes can take you across wetter terrain and through a range of temperatures, which can contribute to sweat. Find a hiking boot that allows your foot to breathe, but also consider packing a couple extra pairs of socks so you can swap out a wet pair for a dry pair when needed.
4. Stop When Pain Starts – Don’t keep trying to push through foot pain. If something begins to hurt, cut your hike short. Continuing to stress damaged ligaments or microfractures can lead to even bigger problems. So if pain sets in and it’s not caused by a bruise or a cramp, head back home and consider setting up an appointment with a specialist. The longer you ignore the problem, the worse it can get.