This post was written by Ashley Bojrab, DPM, FACFAS, ABPM, PPG – Podiatry.
Spring is here and that means we can all enjoy some much-needed recreation in the great outdoors. In the beautiful Midwest, we have many trails to hike, bike and enjoy. If you’ve never explored our local trail system or abundant nature preserves, I encourage you to do so. But first, let’s talk about how to protect your feet.
When you go for a hike, you want to make sure you have on the proper footwear. Sometimes we lose track of how old our shoes or boots really are, so it’s smart to inspect them before you head out for adventure.
Look for proper tread on the bottom to help prevent slipping or falling, and a good fit. This means shoes that don’t rub your toes or heels. Nobody wants to deal with painful blisters! Gradually ease into your exercise routine.
If you are planning to hike on unpaved areas or uneven terrain, you might want to try a boot or shoe with ankle support, such as a shoe that comes up higher or hiking boot. If you are training for a long hike, be sure to wear any new footwear for some time to “break them in.”
Cycling is a great, low-impact exercise that’s easy on your knees and helps take stress off your feet. To keep your toenails and toes protected, it’s important to always wear closed toe shoes when biking.
A unique hazard with this activity is tied to your laces. If shoe laces become untied or get too long, they can get tangled in the wheels of the bike, which can be very dangerous. Try to tuck the extra length under the flap or tongue of the shoe.
Finally, when doing any warm-weather activities, it’s important to always wear a properly fitted sock to help prevent friction and blisters.
If at any point you experience persistent pain, stubborn sores any other concerning foot issues, be sure to reach out to your primary care physician or podiatrist so that you can get back to those invigorating spring and summer activities quickly and safely.