Take a look at these simple ways to keep your feet healthy and ready to put on more miles.
Stretch Your Calves
Tight calves and tight Achilles tendons can lead to foot problems. The tighter these muscles and tendons are, the harder your foot is hitting the trail with each step you take. Do your feet a favor and spend a few minutes stretching your calves on those long mileage days.
Tighten Your Laces
If you have a tendency to get blisters on the heel or back of your foot, a likely cause is loose shoes. One simple fix is to tighten your laces. The lock lacing technique outlined in this video can help prevent heel slippage. Other lacing techniques highlighted in the video can help reduce pressure on different parts of your feet and make your long hiking days more comfortable.
Keep Your Feet Warm
Once your feet get cold, it can be hard to get them back to their warm, happy place. When backpacking, your feet are most likely to get cold after they've gotten wet. To prevent feet from getting cold, it's good to get in the habit of taking your shoes and socks off as soon as you get into camp. Let your feet air dry for a bit, and then put on dry socks. If you need the protection of your wet shoes while doing basic camp chores, you can keep your feet dry by placing them in a plastic bag and then into your boot. Be sure to let your hiking shoes completely dry out before putting in more miles on the trail; wearing plastic bags while hiking isn't a solution.
Clip Your Toenails
Yes, I know you clip your toenails. But remembering to clip them often can help prevent unnecessary pressure points and lost toenails. When you clip your toenails, make sure you clip them so they're square, not round, to help prevent ingrown toenails. You should also be careful not to clip them too short, as this is another ingrown toenail risk factor.