Hiking is tough on your feet. After a long day on the trails, your feet are probably tired and sore. If you continue to hike on your sore feet without caring for them properly, that soreness may progress to more serious injuries, such as tendonitis or plantar fasciitis. You can reduce your risk of injuries and ease your foot pain by following these easy steps after every hike.
Step #1: Soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath.
Epsom salts are wonderful for drawing inflammation out of your tissues and easing soreness after a long hike. They also help ease superficial ailments, such as blisters and calluses. To make a simple Epsom salts bath, dissolve an handful of the salts in a few gallons of water. You can add 1/2 cup finely ground oatmeal if your feet tend to be dry -- oatmeal is great for moisturizing dry skin. Soak your feet in the bath for about 20 minutes, and then rinse them with clear water.
Step #2: Massage your feet.
The ideal time to massage your feet is directly after your Epsom salts bath, while the muscles are still warm and supple. You can apply a small amount of massage oil (or even vegetable oil) to your feet to make your hands glide more smoothly over them. Use your thumbs to apply gentle pressure to the bottom of your foot. Work your thumb in a circular motion, starting at your heel and working your way towards the base of your feet where the toes attach. Then, use your whole hand to massage the tops of your feet, using firm strokes from the front of the ankle down towards the toes. Spend at least 5 minutes on each foot for best results.
Step #3: Roll a tennis ball under the arch of your foot.
It's important to keep the muscles in your feet loose and supple throughout the evening. When you sit back to catch up on your reading or watch some television, try rolling a tennis ball or baseball back and forth under the arch of your foot. This will stretch the muscles and tendons in this area, helping to prevent plantar fasciitis, which is an inflammation of the connective tissue that runs from your heel to your toes.
Following the tips above is especially important when taking multi-day treks or hiking on a daily basis. You can't summit a mountain with a foot injury, so be proactive and prevent foot ailments rather than waiting until they do occur to do something about them. For more tips about caring for your feet during hiking season, contact a clinic such as Family Foot & Ankle Physicians.