As the foliage season kicks into high gear with all its beauty and majesty, many of our patients at Paul Klein, DPM FACFAS are dusting off their hiking boots and getting ready to hit the trails. Follow the tips below to prevent a breathtaking fall hike from becoming a trail of trials for your feet.

Boost Your Boot Sense

The single most important piece of gear for your feet when hiking is obviously what’s on them. Sturdy hiking boots are a must for protecting feet and ankles on uneven terrain. A good hiking boot should have the following features:

  • Steel or graphite shanks—these provide solid ankle support and will reduce tendon and muscle fatigue as well as risk of injury
  • Well insulated
  • Moisture or waterproof
  • Made of good quality materials—good tread, solid construction, no loose stitching, etc.

Take it Easy

Choose the length and difficulty of the trail based on your experience and current physical condition. Five miles may not seem very far but if it’s to the top of a scenic lookout and the most exercise you’ve had in the last few months is changing the channels with the remote, you’re asking for foot pain. Injuries such as Achilles tendonitisare often caused by a sudden surge of physical activity. Take it slow. You can always increase the distance and intensity of your hikes as time goes on.

Be Prepared

Your time on the trail will be more enjoyable if you remember to bring along a few helpful items:

  • Moleskin—to put on a sore spot on your foot before a blister actually forms. This can be a foot saver!
  • Water bottle—staying hydrated is important for your whole body but especially for your feet as it can help prevent swelling.
  • An extra pair of socks—sweaty feet create more friction inside a boot, which can result in blisters. If your socks get very damp from sweat, change them. This will also reduce the risk of athlete’s foot.

If you do twist an ankle or experience foot pain once your hike is over, contact our Wayne, New Jersey office for an appointment. Dr. Paul G. Klein will examine your foot and determine if any injury has occurred and discuss the best way to treat it.