Footcare for walkers

Take these simple steps to make sure you get the best out of your feet.

There are several simple steps that everybody can take to ensure they have good feet:

  • Check your feet regularly for any lumps, bumps, blemishes, grazes, cuts, etc. that are not normally present and take appropriate action.
  • Wash your feet very day. Pay particular attention to the area between your toes and make sure you dry your feet thoroughly.
  • If possible, change your footwear on a daily basis. Every day our feet sweat, and this moisture is absorbed within the socks and shoes. It usually takes longer than overnight for the shoe to dry out thoroughly, so if you wear the same shoes on consecutive days you are effectively putting on a damp shoes.
  • Wear Coolmax or other ‘wicking’ to reduce sweating and avoid your feet remaining damp. Wear clean socks every day, and change your socks if you’ve been exercising. It may be more convenient to change your inner socks than to try to wash and dry thicker ‘hiking’ socks if you’re on a multi-day walk.
  • Stretch on a regular basis to gain good muscle flexibility, particularly of the hamstrings (back of thigh) and the calf muscle groups. This is essential for good foot function.
  • Use the appropriate footwear for the particular surface and type of walking, scrambling or mountain climbing you are doing.
  • Ensure your shoes or boots fit properly. (It is surprising how many people actually wear shoes that are too short for them). You should have approximately the width of your index finger between the end of the longest toe and the end of your shoe. Tie laces so that your foot is held securely in position and does not slide around. Once the shoe is done up, there should be approximately one to two finger widths between the lace holes and you should not be able to pinch any extra material on the upper of the shoe at the widest part of your foot.
  • If you feel any discomfort in your feet and need to ice the area (for example to reduce swelling), you can give the underside of your foot an ice massage by freezing a still can of drink, covering it with a tea-towel, placing it on the floor and rolling your foot over it for 5-10 minutes. To treat other areas of your feet, roll the can over them.
  • If you need heat treatment (for example to improve blood supply), alternate submersing your foot between a bowl of warm water for one minute and cold water for 30 seconds. Do this 4 to 5 times, starting and finishing in the warm water.

Article take from Time Outdoors