November 21, 2017
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Prepare Your Feet for Autumn Hikes

 

As the days become cooler, many are lacing up their hiking boots and heading to the trails to take in the brilliant fall foliage. However, outdoor enthusiasts aren’t always aware of the beating their feet can take with constant and vigorous hiking on uneven terrain. Walking up and down steep hills and on slippery surfaces can put stress on the muscles and tendons in the feet and ankles.

The good news is with a little preparation, you can avoid problems, such as heel pain, ankle sprains and achilles tendon injuries, when taking your autumn hikes.

Wear the right shoes. Cross-training athletic shoes don’t offer the support needed for hiking on uneven, steep and slippery terrain. Investing in strong, stiff-soled, well-insulated and moisture-proof hiking boots will lessen the stress on muscles and tendons and will reduce the risk of injury.

Easy does it hiking is like skiing; beginners should take on less difficult trails until they become better conditioned and more confident. Lax physical conditioning is a primary cause of foot and ankle injuries. In addition to stretching exercises and strengthening of foot and leg muscles, balance exercises will help improve your ability to traverse challenging terrain. Don’t attempt more than your body is ready for; ease into your hiking routine before planning a long, strenuous trip.

Listen to your body. If you start hurting, take a break. Pain is your body’s warning sign something is wrong. Serious injury risk escalates if you continue to hike in pain. And if foot or ankle pain continues even after you have rested, schedule a visit to our office as soon as possible. Ankle and achilles tendon injuries, especially, need to be properly evaluated and treated as early as possible. If left untreated, they can lead to serious problems that can keep you off the trails for a long time.

~ Courtesy of American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons

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