Enjoy Fall Hiking without Foot Pain

Late summer/early fall is a fantastic time to enjoy the many state parks here in Montgomery County. Trail hiking under a cover of colorful autumn leaves is especially enjoyable. With some thoughtful preparation, you can keep your footfalls sure and steady, greatly increasing your chances of spending the day free from foot injuries.

Common hiking injuries

Problems of the feet run from the simple, such as blisters, excessive sweat, foot odor, and bruises of the skin and toenails, to the more serious, including heel inflammation, ankle sprains, broken bones, and Achilles tendon injuries.

Where are you walking? What’s on your feet?

Two of the most menacing foes on the hiking trail are rough terrain and inappropriate shoes. Loose stones, wet rocks, and uneven terrain can easily lead to a slip and fall. Fight back by being aware of your surroundings and wearing the right shoes. Sturdy hiking boots are by far the best choice. Sneakers or running shoes don’t offer enough traction and support. Never wear sandals or flip-flops (don’t laugh – we’ve actually witnessed this on the trail). Not only do they offer little support and stability, but they also leave your feet open and vulnerable to cuts and scrapes.

A third way to avoid injury on the trail is to know your weaknesses. For example, have you had problems with sprained ankles in the past? Take precautionary measures like wrapping your ankle or wearing a high-ankle hiking boot.

Finally, avoid nasty spills by watching your speed while going downhill. If you’re using a walking stick or trekking poles, make sure you’ve practiced using them and taken advantage of any instructional videos that came with them before you venture out.

What to do if you do get injured

Treat a foot injury seriously. It can be difficult to tell the difference between a sprain and a broken bone. A swollen foot might be due to a simple bruise or a complicated fracture. It’s best not to self-diagnose. Go to the emergency room or make an appointment for urgent care at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, Alabama. Doing so could prevent additional damage, more complicated treatment, and a longer recovery period.

For expert treatment of sudden or chronic foot injuries, contact the river region’s expert podiatrists Heidi M. Christie, DPM and Chanda L. Day-Houts, DPM at (334) 396-3668 or online.