- Wear the right shoes. Hiking boots offer the best protection for your feet and ankles. They should be sturdy but comfortable, with great arch support. Consider boots that provide above-ankle stability, especially if you’re planning to hike over rough terrain. Above all, don’t hit the trail in regular sneakers or, even worse, flip-flops.
- Don’t take your socks for granted. Wearing any old pair of socks can easily result in painful blisters on your heels or toes. Choose cushioned socks made of wool blended with other materials such as nylon, bamboo, or polyester. The blend of materials will help whisk moisture away from your skin.
- Watch where you’re going. There can be so many distractions on the trail: kids who wander, dogs that pull on their leash, trying to capture a great view with your camera, or texting while climbing. Keep your eyes on the trail, and always place your feet carefully to avoid twisting your ankle on rocks and roots.
- Start slowly. Stretch before you begin and gradually increase your time and distance, especially if you’re not active. Opt for shorter, flatter hikes and work up to longer, steeper ones. Many an amateur athlete has left the hiking trail with foot or ankle overuse injuries like a stress fracture (a small crack in a bone), plantar fasciitis (heel pain), tendonitis (inflamed tendons), or blackened toenails.
If, despite all your prep and precaution, you do sustain a foot or ankle injury on one of our beautiful trails in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Summit, and Portage Counties, watch it carefully. Visit qualified podiatrists Dr. Craig B. Frey and Dr. Megan L. Oltmann at Foot & Ankle Associates of Cleveland if you have pain or swelling that doesn’t subside, a wound that doesn’t heal, or you can’t put any weight on your foot. We treat sports injuries for hikers of all ages Monday through Saturday at our modern office in Solon, Ohio. Contact us online or call (440) 903-1041 for an appointment.