Summer is the perfect time of year to go on a day hike or backpacking trip, but hiking can also lead to foot injuries and blisters. In this post we are going to give you some advice that will help you prevent blisters while hiking.
If the boot fits
The first step to preventing blisters is to invest in some well fitting hiking boots. If you find a pair that fits well you are already on your way to happy feet. If you already own a pair of boots that fit okay but you still experience some hot spots, you can customize the fit of your boot with inserts. This should eliminate hot spots that can lead to painful blisters.
Break the boot in
Be sure to break in new hiking boots before heading off on a long trip. Even the fabric in day hiking boots, which really almost come fully broken in, still needs to be stretched out and broken in a bit before they become really comfortable. This is especially true for heavier, leather backpacking boots. Be sure to take the time to walk around in your new hiking boots around home before heading out to the mountains!
Wear hiking socks
Wearing cotton socks on a hike is a rookie mistake that can cause painful blisters. This is because cotton socks get wet quickly from sweat and hold the moister on your skin; they also bunch up and rub your feet, which leads to blisters. A good pair of hiking socks will cost about $15 and should be made of wool or other materials that wick the moister away from your skin and wont bunch up or rub.
Wear liner socks
Liner socks should also always be worn when hiking. Liner socks, which are made of polypropylene, remove perspiration off your foot and transfer it to your hiking sock. Liner socks are a crucial piece of equipment for preventing blisters on longer hikes, as by keeping your foot dry half the battle is won in the war against blisters.
Lace up your boots correctly
Make sure your hiking boot is properly laced. A hiking boot that is not laced tight enough can cause your foot to move around quite a bit. On the other hand, don’t lace your boots too tight, as this will cause your feet to swell, which becomes very painful. Try playing around with various degrees of lace tightening/loosening to find the “sweet spot” that keeps the boot from moving around but yet keeps your feet comfortable. And be prepared to adjust the tightness while out on the trail, too, as once you begin hiking you may need to tighten/loosen the boots a bit to get just the right “fit.”
Place Moleskins on your hot spots
Moleskins are like a bandage that goes over the blister, preventing the boot/sock from rubbing against it. They are inexpensive and can make the difference between a happy hiking trip and miserable hiking trip.
If you are experiencing any foot aliments or any pain that is caused by misaligned feet, give us a call at the Utah Foot and Ankle Center (801) 409-2100. At The Foot and Ankle Health Center we provide our patients with comprehensive foot and ankle treatment, from basic foot care to corrective and reconstructive surgery.