Hitting the Trails? Protect Your Feet
With the first nice days of spring finally here, many of our patients at Goldsmith Podiatry are itching to head out of Manhattan to take a hike. Enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery can, however, have a downside—lower extremity pain and injuries. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent podiatric problems before you set out.
Check Your Boots
It’s always a good idea at the start of new season to examine your sports and fitness footwear. Even if your size hasn’t changed, shoes have a lifespan. Look for leather that is stretched out, worn treads and loose stitching that may signal it’s time to replace your shoes. If you have developed any new foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis or chronic ankle instability, you may need to get new hiking boots with the proper support for your condition. If our podiatrists, Dr. Howard Goldsmith or Dr. Rosanna Troia have prescribed a custom orthotic for you due to a condition like flat feet or heel pain, it’s important that you have hiking shoes that will allow you to use the orthotic when you hike.
One way to prevent tendonitis and soreness and injury to muscles and ligaments is by stretching and conditioning. Going up and down mountains and hiking on uneven terrain requires strong quads, calves and ankles. There are several exercises you can do to help strengthen these parts of your body, including:
Quad Stretch—either standing or laying on the floor, bring your foot up to your butt by bending your knee all the way.
Double Leg Squats—pretend you are going to sit on a chair but don’t actually go all the way down. Just allow your butt to tap the chair and stand back up.
Calf Stretch—stand on a stair with your toes on the step and your heels hanging of. Slowly lower your heels and raise them back up.
Pack the Right Stuff
Keeping the proper form and alignment when you hike can go a long way to preventing injury. The goal should be to keep your pelvis level even when the terrain isn’t. Bringing trek poles can be a big help. It’s also a good idea to have some moleskin in your pack, a basic first aid kit and a full water bottle (to help reduce swelling while keeping you hydrated).
If you have a chronic foot condition or to learn more ways to protect your feet during a sport or fitness activity, contact our Upper West Side office by calling: (212) 877-1002.