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Put Foot Safety First When Hitting the Hiking Trail

Do your vacation plans include heading out to one of our National Parks for some serious hiking? Or are you planning day hikes that keep you close to our area?

Wherever you head with hiking on your mind, be sure to take good care of your feet, and that includes pre-hike planning too. The last thing that you want is to develop serious foot pain in the middle of your hike with miles to go before you can get any medical help.

Of course you can’t prevent all injuries, but with careful planning you can reduce the chance of an injury occurring.

Common Hiking Injuries

Hiking injuries range from those that are minor such as a blister or bruise, to more serious problems like an ankle sprain and stress fracture. You may first be tempted to downplay a more serious injury as just an overuse problem that will work itself out.

Many hikers, when faced with an injury on the trail, will try to minimize the pain by modifying their pace or gait or switching shoes. This is not a good idea as you might make the pain worse and contribute to complications from the injury.

Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM stresses that it’s very important to know the signs of an injury and to get professional help as soon as possible to minimize further damage and not prolong your recovery period.

Prepare Carefully for a Hike To Reduce Your Chance of an Injury

  • Make sure that your footwear fits comfortably and is not worn out.
  • Condition your hiking boots before hitting the trail.
  • If your feet ache after a short hike even with good quality, supportive boots, you may benefit from a custom-fitted orthotic to distribute pressure properly.
  • Wear cushioning socks that wick away moisture and protect your feet from the cold.
  • Study your hiking route in advance and learn the options for any medical help.
  • Take along bandages and wraps in case you need to quickly stabilize an injured foot or ankle.
  • Be prepared for blisters. Stay clued in to “hot spots” where friction may be prompting a blister. Tuck moleskin or blister pads in your pack for emergency blister protection. Try not to pop a blister.
  • Give your feet a break when you rest. Take off boots and socks and give your feet a quick massage.

For minor foot pain and swelling after a hike, apply the R.I.C.E. treatment: Rest your foot, apply Ice, Compress the area with a compression bandage and Elevate the leg. If any pain or swelling remains after a day or two, please come see us so we can evaluate your injury.

We Can Help Resolve Any Foot or Ankle Injuries

Dr. Alexopoulos, board certified podiatrist has extensive experience with all types of foot and ankle injuries including those from sports and recreational activities like hiking. Many treatments and surgeries can be addressed right here in our office. Please call our Chicago office at (773) 561-8100 or request an appointment via the website. Most foot and ankle injuries won’t get better on their own – call us today to get help for your foot pain.