We understand — being surrounded by nature is truly a gift. Healthy feet, though, are also.
Hiking is a way of life for many who live in Prescott, AZ and the surrounding Quad-City area. With two striking mountains in the distance (Thumb Butte and Granite Mountain), who could ask for more? That said, it’s no wonder this recreational pastime continues to please and delight many Prescottonians. Maintaining a level of comfort for your feet, however, mystifies some. That’s why local podiatrist Dr. Todd Cox outlines his foot care recommendations for hiking at your best.
Why, you may ask? While hiking, your feet encounter much wear and tear. After all, they must brave the ground for you. Protecting them as much as you can helps avoid unnecessary injuries and extends optimal foot health for many hiking adventures to come.
● Find the shoes for you. Wearing too big of shoes can cause blisters and sores, initiating pain, and possibly, an infection. That’s why you must locate a shoe that not only fits (with wiggle room for toes, of course) but supports your arch, too. When you purchase the right shoe, local podiatrist Dr. Cox suggests removing the insole and replacing it with another that caters to your unique arch. (We discuss the various arch types in this past post.)
● Break them in. As is routine with a pair of new shoes, you must condition them to your feet. This softens the shoes’ materials, adding comfort before you need it most.
Our feet sweat with almost any physical activity, and the right pair of socks can take you to greater heights, along with your fitted hiking shoes. As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog post, socks should wick away sweat rather than absorb it (read more here).
Why should they wick away sweat? Too much moisture can create the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus, and the last thing you want on your feet is an infection. Not only that, during the year’s chillier months, sweat can cause “cold feet,” resulting in the loss of vital circulation that keeps your feet bright and healthy.
They should provide great cushioning, too. Your feet need all of the support they can get during a hike, and the perfect pair of socks can do just that. Local podiatrist Dr. Cox recommends Thorlo socks.
Our feet and ankles tend to swell whenever we walk or run for lengthy amounts of time. Throughout your hike, Dr. Cox suggests taking frequent breaks to elevate your feet, relieving any swelling.
You can always take the proper preventative measures to protect your feet, but sometimes accidents happen. Dr. Todd Cox recommends storing medical supplies, such as bandages and wraps, in your pack just in case you or your hiking partner injury a foot or ankle. After your hike, visit a foot care specialist to avoid worsening the injury. (The healing time is less when you do.)
As we’ve mentioned above, accidents happen. That’s why it’s crucial to know where you are on the trail, so you can locate medical help when you need it most.