The peak of hiking season is just a few months away. Maybe you’ve been keeping active with shorter hikes throughout the winter, or maybe you haven’t — we wouldn’t blame you! With the upcoming Spring season in mind, it’s time to start thinking about how to get the most out of your future hiking adventures.
Getting up and out in nature is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. However, jumping right into a moderate to difficult hiking trail is a quick way to hurt yourself — especially your feet and ankles. It may seem like a no-brainer, but learning how to hike with your podiatric health in mind is a learning process. Here are some tips on how to get started…
First and foremost, your shoes can make or break your experience — literally! Obviously, we wouldn’t advise hiking in high heels. Less surprisingly, even wearing sneakers can be a hit or miss depending on what kind of terrain you will be hiking. Think “arch support!”
If you have a history of podiatric issues, we would certainly advise starting slowly with the easy terrain. Basically, don’t go straight into hiking across moss-covered boulders in whitewater rapids! Make sure your shoes are foot friendly and made for hiking. The more traction the better!
When you really want to up your hiking game, try ankle-high boots with cleats on the soles. Ankle-high boots are best for stabilizing the ankle bones, joints and ligaments much like an ankle brace would. Additionally, cleats give you a major upper-hand with traction, especially during incline or decline, and if there are any remaining patches of ice or snow along the way.
Another fantastic way to safeguard your feet and ankles during hiking adventures is to use trekking poles! There are many different types varying in size, weight, and material. Trekking poles allow you to take some of the work off of your knees, ankles, and feet by allowing your arms to help stabilize you along the way. Don’t want to buy trekking poles? Try one or two identical fallen branches from a tree — just make sure they’re thick and sturdy!
Our last and most important piece of advice is to make an appointment to see your trusted podiatrist at McKinney Podiatric Associates, P.A. and address any concerns you may be having about your foot and ankle health with Dr. McKinney. You can even conveniently schedule an appointment online today or call us at (713) 946-1500.