How to get the most out of your feet while hiking

When you’re wandering around the house on a lazy day, foot discomfort is nothing more than an inconvenience. When your feet aren’t perfectly happy while you’re out hiking or on a ruck, you simply can’t enjoy yourself. The comfort of your feet pretty much dictate everything in those circumstances.

As tough as your feet are, there’s a lot that can happen to them before and during a hike that can hurt. Considering that they’re your means of transportation, you need to know what to do to get through those injuries.

Your best strategy is one based on problem prevention. After that, make sure to deal with any problems that do crop up as early as possible. That can help to stop them from becoming something big. In fact, depending on where you’re hiking, it can make the difference between a great experience and a nightmare. Under certain circumstances, it can even make the difference between life and death.

Use the following tips to keep your dogs happy and stop them from barking…or whining:

  • Wear high quality boots that fit well and are broken in. One of the worst things you can do when you hit the tail is strap on brand new, unworn, untested boots. That is the fastest path to blisters. In fact, you’ll likely start forming them right from your very first steps. Get properly fitted for your boots in the afternoon (when your feet are the most swollen), wearing the socks you’ll have on when you hike (make sure they’re good socks!). Then, wear them around while you run errands, do chores around the house and walk around your neighborhood. They’re not ready to be used as hiking boots until you can wear them without any pain, blisters or other issues.
  • Properly lace your boots. Have the sales rep at the outdoors store where you purchase your boots also show you how to properly tie them. They should keep your heel solidly against the back and base of the boot without cutting off circulation to your instep or toes.
  • Cut your toenails. Seems silly but you’ll love yourself for getting this right. Cut them straight across (not rounded at the sides) and make sure they don’t stick out past the end of your toe. This will reduce the risk of pressure on your toes, cutting into neighboring toes and ingrown toenails. On a hike, any of those problems can be extremely painful, can cause bleeding and may even make the nail to fall right off.
  • Use the right creams, powders and tape. Test these products before heading out. This will help you to know which product or combination works best for you to keep moisture, rubbing and blisters at bay.
  • Take breaks. Once you’re hiking, take breaks. Check your feet, deal with any cuts, hot spots and blisters while they’re just forming, before they have the chance to become truly problematic. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of resting your feet now and again. Use the time to check your texts and your GPS gadgets (hopefully you’ve been charging your gadgets with your smartphone battery pack as you hiked), to drink some water and to take in the scenery.
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