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Foot maintenance while hiking?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/08/2013 20:28:05 MDT Print View

My feet are always KILLING me after hiking the whole day.

For the last few months I've been practicing massaging my feet.

This time I did it about 1x every 2 hours and things were definitely WAY better.

Also just flat out lying down for 5 minutes and putting your feet up definitely helps. Plus you can take a little nap...

On my last day I did like 16 miles from 7AM until 4pm and while I was tired my legs and feet were still in decent shape.

Peter S
(prse) - MLife

Locale: Denmark
Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/08/2013 20:44:53 MDT Print View

Hi Kevin

A good reason to bring a female companion instead of hiking solo - foot massage!

But seriously, nice to hear it makes a difference.

I bought this book for the love of my feet:

Marko Botsaris
(millonas) - F - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz Mountains, CA
Re: Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/08/2013 22:58:37 MDT Print View


Pretty much the best book on feet.... OK, now that I re-read that, it doesn't seem like a ringing endorsement.

But you will just have to trust us. When a book on feet has gone through 5 editions, that may say it all.

Edited by millonas on 07/08/2013 23:00:39 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/09/2013 03:59:54 MDT Print View

> My feet are always KILLING me after hiking the whole day.
A very common problem. Your feet expand when walking. Try a wider fitting and 1/2 a size larger. What fits in the shop is TOO SMALL.


Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/09/2013 08:06:25 MDT Print View

"What fits in the shop is TOO SMALL."

This is very true! A Brannock device puts me at an 8 1/2 to 9 (US), but I've found a size 10 is what I need while hiking. Wearing those big shoes was the first time EVER I hiked entirely blister free.

In contrast to Roger (who spits at the things) I find that SuperFeet Green are very comforting on a hike, very supportive. But then I'm old and decrepit, while Roger (to go by his avatar) is young and vigorous. ;)

Finally, do as much walking on non-level, rough ground as you can, to keep your feet in condition.

If you've found a young lass who will give you foot rubs when backpacking with you, do your utmost to keep her!!!

Edited by grampa on 07/09/2013 08:18:56 MDT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/09/2013 10:05:17 MDT Print View

Just a few ideas:

One thing that I do from my experience as a trail runner is to coat my feet with Vaseline each morning. This is more to reduce the chances of blisters with high mileage. Combine this with a sock that keeps out dirt/dust (Swiftwick) and some gaiters and you are golden. I personally find that if my feet are being abraded in any way then my feet are more sore at the end of the day.

Try to take more breaks and do some some hamstring and calf stretches.

Weight train in the off season. The more strength you have in your leg muscles, back and leg/foot stabilizer muscles, the less stress you will have on your feet.

I personally find that the more minimal the shoe I wear, the less my feet hurt at the end of the day. You want a shoe with a rock plate or your feet will get beat up on rocky terrain (scree, talus, boulders etc.).

Make sure you have the right sock. Too puffy or light and your feet will move around a lot in your shoe. Good laces that sinch-up tight and a trusty knot you don't have to retie make a big difference.

Another trick that I think many overlook is foot placement. Again, coming from my trail running experience, route finding is so important to not wearing your feet out. Learning how to place your feet properly on the trail can save a lot of leg/foot fatigue. I could write an entire article on this!

There is a cream called Arnica. Carry a little tube of this stuff around and rub it on your legs at night. It is a mild anti-inflamatory.

Ibuprofen before bed!

peter vacco

Locale: no. california
Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/09/2013 12:05:05 MDT Print View

Roger be right.

shoes get shorter. they may get wider, but they Never get longer.

and.. where does yer foot ache. bottom ? toes ? general sustained misery ?
different hurts may have different cures.

in my boots, if i pull the superfeet and work a day in them, the feet are trashed bad. if i run the insoles, it's all glory and good.

i have bught lord knows how many of shoes/boots too small. one fine time i started a trip in 10.5's, mailed ahead a set of 11's (same boot). that worked GREAT. then i got greedy and mailed ahead again 11.5's. that was a bridge too far, and i got my arse handed me on a plate.

back at home a few weeks later, and more new 11's were overspacious and just about unwearable. a proper trip requires us to think different sometimes.
LL Beans Goretex Cresta Hikers. 15 prs of them worn to the nub. now in the ex's garden, in a little row like walking, planted with flowers in them.

Dena Kelley

Locale: Eagle River, Alaska
"Foot maintenance while hiking?" on 07/10/2013 15:11:51 MDT Print View

I have genetic bunions- huge ones- and basically my feet are deformed. Blisters were common for me, until last year: I stopped wearing hiking boots and went back to trail runners combined with trekking poles- just as much stability, if not more. I bought the shoes in a 4E (New Balance has an incredible selection of sizes) width and an extra size longer. It used to be I'd blister on my bunions and my heel guaranteed on every hike. Now I almost never blister.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/10/2013 16:05:56 MDT Print View

> I'm old and decrepit, while Roger (to go by his avatar) is young and vigorous.

It's an old photo ... :-)


Billy Ray
(rosyfinch) - M

Locale: the mountains
foot care on the trail... on 07/10/2013 16:09:24 MDT Print View

My feet can hurt on long downhill sections, especially if it is hot... so, perhaps they are swelling a bit... but I would never buy larger shoes... these fit perfect... if I bought larger, that would mean they would be slipping around on my feet most of the time when my feet didn't swell... and likely cause blisters from the slipping (though I'm not conviced the hurt is from swelling as the fit still seems right even when they hurt...)...

Anyway, I just stop for a break... the rest of my body usually needs one by then anyway... pull off my boots, dunk my feet in a cold streem, let them dry, and put on clean, dry socks... good to go for another half day...

FWIW to the running shoe advocates, the lighter weight shoe/boot I wear, the more my feet hurt... different strokes...


Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Foot maintenance while hiking? on 07/13/2013 14:42:08 MDT Print View

Hike more often.

Wear bigger/lighter shoes.

Nothing else needed.


Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
Re: foot care on the trail... on 07/13/2013 15:10:36 MDT Print View

Good advice from Bill D. I just returned from a five day hike and for the first time I tried the feet soak and fresh socks treatment--during my lunch break on a high mileage day. I couldn't believe the difference this made--to my feet and overall energy level.