Despite all the benefits of hiking, it’s a matter of fact that most people will suffer from blisters and other foot sores after an outing.
The good news is there are effective ways to take care of your feet that help to prevent regular discomfort.
Investing in a suitable pair of hiking shoes and moisture-wicking socks helps; wool, bamboo, toe socks and double socks are ideal. You may also want to tape ankles, heels and toes that are most susceptible to rubbing before heading out.
Once you return home, follow the routine outlined below to help your feet recover.
Soak in Water
Soaking your feet in water should be the first thing on your to-do list once your remove your boots. However, whether you dip into hot or cold water depends on the condition of your feet.
Hot water helps to relax your feet and stimulate blood flow. This is great for recovery. However, if your feet are swollen, soak them in cold water first. This will help to reduce inflammation and restore energy to fatigued feet.
Elevate your feet
After soaking your feet, elevate your legs. Studies show that sitting with your legs up in a slightly elevated position or laying down, helps to improve blood circulation.
Treat Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses are the hard, thickened mounds of skin that typically form on the side of your big toe. They are caused by repeated friction like rubbing against the side of your shoe.
Unless you treat corns and calluses, they will continue to grow – and this can cause you pain whilst you’re out walking. Treating corns and calluses is simple; soak them in water, and whilst they are soft break them down with a pumice stone.
The best way to treat your feet is to protect them from blisters. If you know which areas of your feet are likely to succumb to rubbing cover that part of your foot with a plaster (bandaid) or soft bandage.
If you do get a blister, the American Academy of Dermatology Association recommends covering the sore point with a softly padded bandage. Popping blisters is not recommended as this can lead to infection.
Massage Your Feet
Massaging your feet is another effective way of stimulating blood flow and restoring vitality back to your feet. To massage your feet properly, rest your ankle across your knee, hold the base of the foot and press the fingers or knuckles into your soles.
If your feet feel tender after a long walk, try one of these other, more gentle ways of massaging your feet.
Increase strength and agility
In between walks, it is highly recommended that you perform various exercises to strengthen your feet, ankles and lower legs. The more stability and resilience you build up in your feet, the less pain you will feel after an outing.
Hiking is an invigorating form of exercise for nurturing physical and mental health. Taking care of your feet before and after a hiking session will ensure you enjoy your excursions without feeling any pain.