The well-being of your legs and feet is essential if you’re a hiker. Sure, you can cope with wet and cold feet for a while but if something keeps hindering your progress, you need to address it.
The most common causes of foot pain: plantar fascia, bunions, different kinds of Achilles issues, limb numbness and detrition and shin splint.
Behind the symptoms is usually a sudden and increased strain when starting a new exercise or going from winter exercise to summer exercise. All these factor into straining the foot, ankles, shins and knees. Not to mention tendons and muscles.
So in order to prevent lower limb issues, a regular exercise is more than recommended.
The better our muscle fitness and flexibility is, the better our body can withstand the increase of strain.
Many active people forget body maintenance
Active people usually focus on one specific activity and with excessive intensity, so it takes longer to recover.
The most important targets for lower body maintenance are calves, Achilles tendons and buttocks.
A flexible calf decreases the tension with the Achilles tendon and the foot while releasing our toes and ankles to do their job. When they get to act freely, your knee can focus on what it needs to do.
Likewise, a strong buttock gives support to the knee and ankle and they can all work in harmony.
At the end of a hike day
Self-help is a big part of body maintenance. Stretching your calves and using a tennis ball to stretch the bottom of your foot eases the tension. Not to mention switching to more loose-fitting footwear after a day in hiking boots. Or you can just walk barefoot.
Salespeople of hiking gear are experts on the field and will help you choose the perfect pair.
Shoes that are too snug or too small tend to be one of the reasons for foot troubles.
A properly sized shoe has 1,5 cm room between the big toe and the point and enough room for all the toes to move around a bit.
Who can you turn to should the issue persist?
If self-help and proper shoes don’t help, I recommend consulting a physiotherapist or a podiatrist.
Photos: Heikki Sulander