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Train Wreck
05-30-2005, 12:40
Hi, I am new to the group, my husband and I have been section hiking the A.T. for the last 12 yrs. or so, we are more than halfway done and would like to ask other section hikers (thru-hikers too) about your experiences with sore, aching feet during a 4 to 6 day hike. No blister problems, we just always develop sore feet that seem to start up hurting earlier each day into the hike! The pain is mostly in the entire ball of the foot behind the toes. Any helpful advice? We have always had properly fitted, broken in boots (leather and cordura Vasques), use padded socks & liners, have tried gel insoles, etc. We also spend regular time on treadmills as part of normal gym workout off the trail. Our packs are not ultralight, but tye are fairly normal weights (30 - 45 lb. accordingly). Normal days hike is 10 - 16 miles. We always have the same problem whether the hikes are done close together in a season or more infrequently. Some thru-hikers have told us that it gets better after the first 300 miles or so of continuous hiking, but as section hikers we aren't achieving that sort of mileage in one trip. Our dogs have dogged us with this problem all the way from GA to mid-PA, doesn't seem to matter what the terrain is like. I have read the other posts but would appreciate any further insight - also, what are Superfeet?

Ridge
05-30-2005, 12:51
I had the same problem until I went to a heavier boot with more mid-sole, a vibram sole, and a nylon shank. Currently me and my husband use a Rachile "Mountain Trekker", a much heavier boot, but it insulates the feet from rocks and roots. Together the boots weigh over 4lbs. When not carrying a backpack we use lighter boots, but still have the vibram soles. Vasque, along with others, makes heavier boots, the Rachile's were on sale and really fit well, so we got them. hikerwife

neo
05-30-2005, 12:58
i just take more vitamin I,and keep hiking,my aching feet are from 20 to 25 mile
per day hikes day in day,no real injury,s,they are fine couple days after i get home:cool: neo

Train Wreck
05-30-2005, 15:08
I've taken several per day (significantly more than recommended), but Vitamin I doesn't seem to work for our feet altho it fixes up most of the other aches & pains. I thought of taking some pain meds the dentist gave me for a root canal but was afraid it would make me stupid & accident prone.

trip
05-30-2005, 16:25
With shoes, everything is subjective, so bear in mind that these observations may not apply for you. But anyway, boots are often devastatingly stiff, and this hurts the bottoms of your feet. Consider a thick-soled walking shoe, like New Balance 968. I walked a third of the trail in them, and had zero problems. Another option is trying trail runners. With either of these, you're trading shoe durability and foot protection for having better cushioning in the soles. So, give some non-boots a shot, and maybe you'll find something good.

SuperFeet are insoles. They cost about 20 dollars, and some people love them. SuperFeet are very very hard, though. I hiked in them for five days, and could barely walk into Tillie's place on the fifth day. Some people have success with them; I found that they were like running on concrete, only five times worse. My advice is that if you're having bottom-of-the-foot problems, don't try SuperFeet. Also, gel insoles tend to cause blisters. If you have blister problems, try a normal non-gel insole.

Finally, I found at one point some foam pads that went in my shoes, but only under my heels. They cost about 2 dollars, and were a life-saver. If it's the heel that's getting you, head down to the drug store and see what you can find.

Crazy Larry #1
05-30-2005, 16:34
i'm flat footed and my feet get to throbbing sometimes. i have undoubtedly the best boots i ever had with a pair of superfeet insoles in them, vasques sundowners. really though, it takes time for your feet to quit hurting, usually right about the time you get use to all the other aches and pains you realized you never had before and usually about the time u get ur walking feet under ya, bout 6-7 weeks.....everyones different.........wanderer

rumbler
05-30-2005, 20:34
The solution is in your fingers.

Take Icy Hot with you when you hike. Rub your feet attentively with it each evening. Better yet, spend one night rubbing your husband's feet, and have him rub yours the next night. Rotate each evening - we found that a good foot rub would take 45-60 minutes. Use Wet Wipes to clean your feet before each session. After a few days of having your husband working the pain out of your feet - and working the ouches out of his - you both will become quite proficient at re-energizing your feet. I venture to say that you both will look forward to this evening recupuration throughout the day - especially if it is your turn to be on the receiving end.

Additionally, elevate your feet whenever you can. But the foot rub is it - if you always hike with your husband, you will always have a reciprocating partner. And there will be nothing better for your feet than having all the inflammation, pooled blood and other nasties pushed, rubbed and cajoled out of their hiding places in the meat and capillaries of your soles and out into your general circulatory system where they can be flushed out and away. (Be sure -among the many other good reasons to do this - to drink plenty of water during and afterwards to help the body get rid of what you have massaged out of your feet).

I now take a polished piece of wood with me when I hike by myself, and work my feet with it each night. It is nowhere near as good as having an attentive partner rubbing your feet, but it's better than nothing. Remember, your feet take more punishment than any other piece of equipment that you have, and are a good deal less rugged than most of the gear that you carry: They need more attention and care as a result.

Elevation and most importantly lengthy rubs. Best hiking advice of any kind that I can give you.

Sly
05-31-2005, 00:55
During the 1st few days in Georgia, I asked a more experienced hiker, how long it would take the foot pain to go away.

His answer, how long will it take to get to Maine, pretty much summed it up.

zetaminx
05-31-2005, 04:10
Just getting started hiking. My boyfriend got me into this, will tell you whether I thanked him or dumped him after some real hikes. :-? As a beginner with what ya'll would consider sissy feet, what is a good pair of boots to start out with. My man can offer good suggestions but Ladies , help me out here. :confused:

plodder
05-31-2005, 19:43
Maybe you would desribe the chunk of wood you use on your feet. I use a shaving cream can, Rise, sometimes in the AM and am always open to better ways.

David S.
06-01-2005, 10:31
Theres a great book that I purchased from www.backpackinglight.com called "Fixing your Feet". It is really quite informative...I never knew that so much could be written on the subject. It lists over 150 ways to prevent and deal with blisters...amomg many other things. David S.

rumbler
06-01-2005, 11:58
Maybe you would desribe the chunk of wood you use on your feet. I use a shaving cream can, Rise, sometimes in the AM and am always open to better ways.

The thing I am currently using is a polished wooden pen. Fits in with the double use principle. And I do wipe it down after I'm done. Rubbing, that is - Not necessarily writing. Although depending on my mood the writing may be more filthy than the feet. :)

dougmeredith
06-08-2005, 11:35
Theres a great book that I purchased from www.backpackinglight.com (http://www.backpackinglight.com) called "Fixing your Feet".
Thanks for the tip. I just got a copy of it today. It looks like it is going to be quite helpful.

Doug

Scribe
06-08-2005, 13:26
I also use a heavy (Merrell Wilderness) hiking boot and have had no blisters or sore feet since I have been using them - about 10 years.

Recently these were re-conditioned (new Vibram soles, re-stiching, waterproofed), and I had no problems. I was a bit nervous about all of this - but they were worn out.

Too bad they can't recondition people...

Bolo
06-08-2005, 14:54
Hi Train Wreck!
I too have developed soreness on the bottom of my feet and do not know the source except that it cannot be from excessive hiking.
I recently bought a pair of Superfeet and can say that they do give relief more so than regular insoles, gels, etc which i normally use.
The foot massage idea mentioned above sounds great if you have a willing partner. Unfortunately I can't fathom massaging my own feet for 45 minutes!

I have an old pair of Merrells which fit like a glove, even better with the Superfeet. You can get them from Campmor. Thinking about trying trailrunners this summer, concerned about sacrificing the ankle support I get with boots but hope more cushioning will ease the foot pain.
Oh, did I forget to mention that I've gained a few pounds. I would imagine this contributes to foot problems?
Good luck and happy foot-pain-free hiking!

Dharma
06-08-2005, 15:16
No blister problems, we just always develop sore feet that seem to start up hurting earlier each day into the hike! The pain is mostly in the entire ball of the foot behind the toes. Any helpful advice? If I learned one thing hiking the trail it's that all body problems have a mental and emotional component.

Ok, look at the ball of the foot.... it is the part that you press on to propel yourself forward. A 'recipe' of foot-thingys (padding, insoles, working out, different shoes) has not worked for you, so it must be something else. Know that pain in the physical is you trying to give you a message; one you keep resisting. Pain is there to get your attention. It's hard to ignore unless you crank up the vitamin I.

So, what's the issue with 'propelling yourself forward'? To really get down to it, I'd need to know what it is you're doing when the pain begins. And don't say hiking. ;) There's some mental/emotional thing going on there before the pain starts each morning. My best guess is you have resistance to 'moving forward', like the foot pain suggests. That leads me to ask you, do you or your spouse have any unexpressed feelings about hiking the trail? If you've wanted to take shorter days, later mornings, or hike with more ease... and said nothing to your partner, then I could see pain developing. Are you sick of hiking the AT? (12 years is a long time) Do you want to do another trail instead? Spend your vacation time with more ease? Is chipping away at the 2000 mile goal not fun anymore and you'd rather just hike whenever and wherever?

Ask yourself and your husband these questions and see what comes up.

In the meantime, rumbler has the best advice for feet. Rub them, elevate them. This did the trick for me, and once I let go of my schedule (which was my resistance to moving forward), my feet didn't hurt again.

Turtle2
06-08-2005, 18:00
You may have a case of plantar facitis. Stretching the hamstrings on a daily basis can help tremendously. Stand on a step on the balls of your feet and lower you heels and hold for 10 seconds then rise up on your toes and repeat is an easy way to stretch the plantar in the sole of you foot. And, yes, rolling your foot over a wooden pin can help. Best bet, find an outfitter, try on different shoes/boots and walk around the store with a pack of your normal weight. You'll get a good idea of what helps. Inserts are not created equal! I put some in my boots one morning on the trail and had to stop within an hour with the pain. After removing the inserts it was OK.

Good luck

Northern Harrier
06-11-2005, 21:19
Theres a great book that I purchased from www.backpackinglight.com (http://www.backpackinglight.com/) called "Fixing your Feet". It is really quite informative...I never knew that so much could be written on the subject. It lists over 150 ways to prevent and deal with blisters...amomg many other things. David S.
Good advice - I found the best answer to my thread about numb toes in that book - NH