As summer winds down and the air turns crisp, many outdoor enthusiasts prepare to welcome fall from the hiking trail. Hiking is a great form of exercise and the perfect way to experience the shift in seasons while watching the leaves change color. However, a successful hike takes more preparation than one might think. Before hitting the trail, hikers should be mindful of the strain this outdoor activity can put on their feet and ankles.
Here are some tips to ensure your fall hikes aren’t cut short by heel pain, ankle sprains or Achilles tendon injuries.
Wear shoes with good support. Tennis shoes are not the best for hiking and lack the support needed for hiking on uneven, steep or slippery terrain. Hiking boots should be worn instead. They’re well-insulated and moisture proof with a stiff sole for maximum support.
Take It Easy
As with most physical activity, it’s better to start small and work your way up as you get comfortable and more confident. Physical conditioning is important to avoiding injuries. Strengthening, stretching and balancing exercises will help immensely when it comes to more challenging terrain. Do as much as your body can handle, and ease into a hiking routine before tackling long, strenuous trails.
Listen to your body and take a break if something starts hurting. Hiking in pain will only increase the risk of a serious injury. If you experience foot or ankle pain while hiking and it doesn’t get better with rest, schedule an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon as soon as possible. Ankle and Achilles tendon injuries need to be evaluated and treated as early as possible. If left untreated, these injuries could ruin your hiking plans for a long time.
Know What to Do
If you suffer an injury out on the trails this fall, remember the RICE method — rest, ice, compression, elevation — and seek care as soon as possible. NGPG Podiatry is happy to help with any of these injuries or pain and issues you might be having. You can schedule an appointment at our office in Winder by calling 770-867-4110 or learn more by visiting us online.