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853 Jefferson Ave
Washington, PA 15301
(724) 225-7410
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By Philip S. Pinsker, DPM PC
September 27, 2017

As our Washington County hills change colors and the leaves put on their annual color show, we at Philip S. Pinsker, DPM know that many of our patients will be heading out on fall hikes. While these outings can be invigorating and beautiful, they can also be the cause of foot pain and injury. In an effort to preserve foot health on these hikes, we offer the following tips:

Do: check your hiking boots before hitting the trail. Make sure the fit properly—feet can increase in size as you age. Also, be sure that they are not showing signs of wear and that they are well made. Hiking boots should be moisture proof and well insulated. They should have graphite or steel shanks to increase ankle support and reduce muscle and tendon fatigue.

Don’t: Choose a hiking trail that is beyond your ability or current level of physical conditioning. Most trail maps will tell you the length and also the elevation of the hike. A mile around the track is vastly different from a mile climbing a mountain. Overdoing it can lead to blisters, Achilles tendonitis and ankle sprains. Start gradually and work your way up to more strenuous and longer trails.

Do: pack necessary supplies. Moleskin is essential. Apply to any spot on your feet or toes that feels sore or irritated. Don’t wait for a blister to form. Also bring a water bottle. Staying hydrated is important to your feet (as well as the rest of your body) because it helps reduce edema or swelling.

Do: Layer your socks. Wear a synthetic pair closest to your skin to help keep feet dry and reduce the friction caused by sweat that creates blisters. On top of those add a wool pair that will add warmth, wick moisture away from the skin and add a layer of comfort within your boots.

Don’t: ignore your feet’s warning signals. If you begin to experience pain in your feet or extreme fatigue, end the hike as soon as possible. Continuing on when your feet are telling you to stop is a surefire way to invite injury or an overuse condition that could sideline you for days afterwards.

If you do find yourself in foot pain after a hike, contact our Washington office so our podiatrist, Dr. Philip S. Pinsker can examine your foot. If you have sustained an injury, the foot doctor will prescribe the correct treatment to help you get back on your feet safely as soon as possible.

 

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