At Paul S. DeMarco, DPM with the heat of summer behind us and cooler fall days on the way we expect we’ll be seeing more patients with injuries and conditions related to hiking. Many of these could have been prevented with just a few simple precautions. Keep the following do’s and don’ts in mind as you plan your fall hiking trips:
Do: choose a hike that suits your level of conditioning. One of the most common reasons hiking injuries occur is because people choose hikes that are beyond their level of physical fitness. Climbing steep trails puts tremendous pressure on your feet, ankles, and lower legs and can result in Achilles tendonitis and muscle and ligament strains and tears if you are not used to this type of exercise. Muscle fatigue can also lead to falls. Start out gradually and build up to more strenuous trails.
Do: talk to your foot doctor if you have a chronic foot condition or previous injury. Our podiatrist, Dr. Paul S. DeMarco will offer suggestions on how to protect your foot from a recurrent injury or keep a current condition from getting worse. Orthotic devices and special taping or bracing may be necessary for you to enjoy this sport without harming your feet.
Don’t: go hiking without hiking boots. Good hiking boots protect your feet by keeping them dry and providing strong support for your ankles which helps prevent sprains, as well as helping you tackle tough terrain without slips and falls.
Do: pack moleskin in your backpack. This can be applied to the skin of your foot if you feel like a blister is forming. Be sure your boots fit properly and consider a second pair of socks for extra padding if you are experiencing friction or rubbing of the boot against your foot.
Don’t: hike alone. It’s important to have a buddy in case of a fall or injury.
If your feet or ankles hurt beyond normal muscle pain after your hike, be sure to contact our Somers Point office for an appointment to get an evaluation. Minor injuries can become major problems if not diagnosed and treated in their early stages.