Ah, that crisp fall air and leaves changing colors—that’s autumn in Connecticut and a time when many of our patients at Connecticut Foot Care Centers enjoy going hiking. And while hiking is a great way to take in the beauty of fall, it can also be injurious to the health of your feet if you fail to take the proper precautions. Below are some reminders to consider before you hit the trail.
Do Your Homework—before setting out on a hike, study the trail you are considering. Note how long it is as well as the degree of difficulty. Determine the type of surface you will be walking on and the elevations. Remember, a mile around your neighborhood is vastly different from a mile hiking up a mountain!
Get the Right Shoes—like all activities, your feet need to have the right footwear for maximum comfort and safety. Hiking boots should be made of sturdy material, well-insulated and moisture-proof and have steel or graphite shanks. If you have chronic weak ankles, choose a high-top style for added ankle support. Proper hiking boots protect your feet and reduce tendon and muscle fatigue. Your hiking shoes/boots should have a good tread to help compensate for loose rock and natural material on the trail.
Pair with Good Socks—even with the right shoes, the wrong socks can ruin your hike. When feet sweat, friction between foot and footwear is increased and this means a greater likelihood of getting blisters. A good strategy is to wear two pairs of socks: One thin, synthetic sock to help keep feet dry and then a pair of wool socks over them to add warmth and cushioning. Look for materials that wick moisture away from your feet. Damp feet are more prone to fungal infections.
Stock Your Pack—while you don’t want to be weighed down, a few small items will go a long way toward making your hike more comfortable. Pack moleskin and apply to any spot on your foot as soon as it begins to feel sore or irritated to prevent blisters. Bring an extra pair of socks and of course a water bottle, which will help you stay hydrated and reduce swelling of your feet and ankles.
If you do sustain an injury while hiking or are experiencing foot pain after you return, be sure to contact one of our six Hartford and Middlesex County offices. Our podiatrists Jeffrey S. Kahn, D.P.M., Craig M. Kaufman, D.P.M., Ayman M. Latif, D.P.M.