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  1. #1
    Walking Stick glessed's Avatar
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    Question Any Solutions for Sore Feet?

    At the ten mile point of a hike, my feet are really sore. They also swell up. Taking my boots and socks off every 3 or 4 miles and putting them on a cold rock reduces the swelling (for awhile), but the soreness is still there. I've tried sole inserts (can't remember the brands) and they help some but then the swelling in combination with the inserts causes the boots to be too tight.

    Right now, I am thinking that larger sized boots with a better insert might be the solution. I am currently using Salomon boots. They are 1/2 size larger than my street shoes.

    Any solutions, recommendations for sole inserts, field remedies or whatever would be appreciated.

  2. #2

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    You're already on the right track. It is highly likely that larger, more comfortable, professionally fitted boots, along with better quality insoles, will solve your problems.

    Other ideas/suggestions:

    *Don't buy boots on-line. Take the time to go to a good store, try on plenty of things, ask questions, make sure you've got a knowledgable sales clerk. And never be in a rush when you're buying boots;take the time to do it right.

    *Go boot shopping towards the END of the day; your feet will likely be slightly swollen from being on them all day and will therefore more closely resemble what they'll be like when you're hiking

    *Make sure you're wearing the type of socks/liners that you'll be hiking in; likewise, make sure you also try on the boots with the insoles you'll be using; i.e. get the insoles BEFORE you've purchased the boots.

    *Wear the boots at home for a few hours or more til you're sure you like the fit. Most stores will allow shoes to be exchanged or returned provided they
    haven't been worn outside.

    *When on the Trail, check your feet several times a day for hot spots, developing blisters, etc. On longer trips, icing your feet can be a great relief; whenever I'm in town at a motel, hiker hostel, etc., I soak my feet in ice water. On the trail, cooling your feet in ponds and streams (as long as you're not doing it in a drinking water source) can also be a blessing.

    *Take Ibuprofen for pain and to relieve swelling. Ibuprofen taken at bedtime (or better yet, in the middle of the night if you should wake up) can mean less painful, less swollen feet in the morning.

    *If pain persists, adjust your mileage, and if possible, your pack weight. Chronic, persistent pain in your feet (or anywhere else, for that matter) should probably be seen by a doctor; you might also want a foot specialist to examine your feet to see if a special insole or orthotic would help you.

  3. #3
    "Showme" on the trail ffstenger's Avatar
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    The nurse in me has other questions for you also, which will affect my advice to you..... how old you are, and any other health issue may cause your feet to swell more than normal. Good boots with enough flexablity so they don't bind your feet but enough support for uneven terrain is essential. I use a gel insole with a foam insole on top of that and two pairs of socks ( or sock liners and one pair of regular socks) with my LL Bean Cresta Hikers and I have had many many miles of AT hiking with no blisters, swelling, or wet feet !! In addition to all the other good advice given, when you take a break on the trail, sit (or lay) with your feet slightly up hill and if your break is long enough, do take your boots off.

    Showme

  4. #4
    Walking Stick glessed's Avatar
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    I'm 62. Have high blood pressure, but that is well under control. In the heat, whick I tolerate very well, my hands and feet both swell. I'm going for my annual checkup soon. what is the best thing to tell the doctor?

    Thank God, this world has nurses! Thanks for your input.

  5. #5
    Walking Stick glessed's Avatar
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    Thanks, I'll do some more shopping. I think that lighter boots or shoes is also part of my next goal.

  6. #6
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    Glessed,

    Everybody is a little different. I struggled with boots for years. In the heat or on high mileage days my feet would sweat, swell, etc and just be uncomfortable... even develop blisters. I finally looked at it like this: boots protect my feet from the trail, but I can't figure out how to protect my feet from the boots. So I tried light weight trail runners. My ankles are strong enough and to protect my feet from the trail, I have to watch where I step. It is different, but it has worked for me. An added bonus is that since they are lighter, it is less work hiking those high mileage days. I think sizing is a little different in that your toes can slide further on downhills. I found I like them maybe a tad large and if that becomes a problem, I just adjust sock thickness or use liner socks to get the appropriate volume. The shoes are breathable enough to handle the thicker socks where/when I have been hiking and thicker socks seem to add some cushioning.

    Youngblood

  7. #7
    "Showme" on the trail ffstenger's Avatar
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    Back to your swelling feet. Sorry to say that age is a factor here.... circulation in your feet and lower legs tends to slow down as you get older, especially the "return" circulation that sends blood back up your legs once it's made it's way down to your feet. Also swelling of your hands is a gravity thing (holding your hands and arms down all day while hiking) complicated by the back pack's shoulder straps which make return circulation more difficult.
    Tell your doctor about your activity level and the swelling, chances are he won't have any special treatment, so you'll have to be creative with things like people have mentioned above in helping your feet go the distance.... good luck,
    Showme.

  8. #8
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    Default feets swellin'

    Quote Originally Posted by glessed
    At the ten mile point of a hike, my feet are really sore. ...blah,blah,blah................................. ..........................
    .......... They are 1/2 size larger than my street shoes.............................


    Boots are diffferent & so are hikers' feet & their problems.
    If you're gonna stay with that brand of boot...go back to the store where you bought them...tell them of your concerns, problems..maybe they have a suggestion. I'd go with a full size larger & an insert.(maybe SuperFeet insert)

    If the pain persists...i'd take a few days or weeks off the trail & go see a foot specialist.
    see ya'll UP the trail!

    "Jaybird"

    GA-ME...
    "on-the-20-year-plan"

    www.trailjournals.com/Jaybird2013

  9. #9
    Walking Stick glessed's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all your inputs?

  10. #10

    Default Go Barefoot

    One thing that a hiker I met in '02 on the Trail suggested that worked for me. This summer and fall while it is still warm, walk barefoot on the sidewalk on a regular basis. You will "toughen" your feet and build up calluses over a period of time that will create a hard outer layer or skin. Be careful not to overdue it though. I believe this and a good pair of socks go a long way in avoiding blisters. I know there's more to feet problems than blisters, but I never had one my entire hike.

  11. #11

    Default my 2 cents

    i prep for a hike by walking barefoot as much as possible and massaging with rubbing alcohol several times a day. makes the feet tough. and i take arnica. iits great on aches

  12. #12
    Addicted Hiker and Donating Member Hammock Hanger's Avatar
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    Default

    Lots of good advice here, especially BJ's. -- Here is another thing to look at your shoes vs your pack weight. I have seen alot of hikers in lightwt shoes with heavy packs. The two should go together. If you are carrying a heavier pack you should invest in a more sturdy type of shoe/boot. -- Lt weight sneakers really are not suited for heavy weights.

    I love to stop and soak my feet in an ice cold stream... However, my podiatrist recommend that I not do it longer then 15-20 minutes. (At the moment my Alzheimer's has kicked in and I can't remember why. Something to do with slowing down the circulation too much.) Sue/HH
    Hammock Hanger -- Life is my journey and I'm surely not rushing to the "summit"...:D

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  13. #13
    Jay, Class of 2005 MoBeach42's Avatar
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    Default Corks

    I have just discovered the joy of cork inserts. They are incredible. I got them when I bought my new boots at Bob's Wilderness House in Boston. They sold me the corks with the boots, and added extra strength to the arch support and a small heel lift. What a difference, it's amazing. I'd look into it if you have serious problem. Superfeet are good, much much much better than the factory inserts, but corks are that much better, and last much longer. They help keep shape in the forward part of your foot too - in the arch across your knuckles. Which helps with circulation etc. Just a thought.
    Journal * Photos
    "The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know.... Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough." -John Adams

  14. #14

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    My feet are the largest issue I have when I hike. Three things ultimately helped keep me walking:

    1. I learned to limit my miles. I am not going to hike 20-milers in succession without paying a sole toll.

    2. Elevate: Whenever I get to a shelter or a tree or a wall, during the day or at evening, I put my feet up and leave them up for awhile. It really helps to get some of that pooled blood out of the feet where it has collected. If your feet are swelling, this will help immensely.

    3. Massage. I believe it is the most important thing you can do for your feet on a long hike. If you can talk someone into rubbing your feet you are set (Key word: Reciprocation!). If not, then give them a good rubdown each evening yourself. It works. You will learn which spots to rub, push, cajole and soothe. Keep working them until they relax, until you have pushed the blood back out of them, until you have smoothed out the ripples and balls and knots. It may take you thirty minutes or more, but it is time so well worth it if your feet are having a tough go of it.

    I had to shack up in Harper's Ferry for two days deciding whether my feet were going to allow me to keep going. Once I adopted these three rules, things got a whole lot easier.

    I will add a PS, echoing Jack and HH. I tried several trail runner shoes. All ended up being too thin in the sole to give my feet the protection that they wanted, and I ended up back in my clunky old boots, even though I hiked with a relatively light load. I will wear them this summer on Kilimanjaro, even though I will for the most part only be carrying a daypack. My legs may protest, but my feet like heavy boots, and my feet protest with a lot more gusto than do my legs. Feet and footwear are very individualized. Find what fits best for you, and be very suspicious about wearing something long enough for your feet to get used to it.

  15. #15
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    I discovered that foot swelling was less of a problem if I used socks that had a minimum or no elastic in the top. They might be hard to find, because most of the popular brands have a wide band of elastic in the top. Usually the clerks at outfitter stores have some idea of what I want if I ask for just plain wool rag socks, although that doesn't mean they will have them in stock.

  16. #16

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    The most comfortable insoles. They will solve your foot problem
    www.shockblockers.com

  17. #17
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    Try the Superfeet/trail runner combo. It works for me and equals foot happiness.
    <A HREF="http://www.jackielbolen.blogspot.com/"TARGET="Jackie's BLOG">http://www.jackielbolen.blogspot.com/</A>

  18. #18
    Donating Member/AT Class of 2003 - The WET year
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    Once you're out on the trail and you feet start to swell and ache the most effective remedy is elevation and massage. Use gravity to fascilliate reduction in the swelling and massage to comfort the tired muscles. During my thru in 2003 I developed really tender foot soles. I bought some Aspercreme and massaged my feet every night with it before going to sleep. It made a world of difference.

    'Slogger
    The more I learn ...the more I realize I don't know.

  19. #19
    Cool Change - Donating Member drsukie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Footslogger
    Once you're out on the trail and you feet start to swell and ache the most effective remedy is elevation and massage. Use gravity to facilitate reduction in the swelling and massage to comfort the tired muscles. During my thru in 2003 I developed really tender foot soles. I bought some Aspercreme and massaged my feet every night with it before going to sleep. It made a world of difference.

    'Slogger
    Agreed - and don't forget that when warmer weather comes, drop your doggies in a cool stream if possible ( downstream, of course). While it is still cold weather outside, you can always douse a hand towel if you bring one with you to wipe down tent, etc., and use it to cool down and massage your feet before you put on camp shoes or sockies. Your feet will warm up soon enough when you hand-massage them and pop them in new socks.

    Light compression can help, too - like a lightweight elastic wrap that you carry to use after hiking boots are off. RICE= rest. ice (or cool with water in this case), compress, and elevate.

    I, for one, have every intention on finding the pedicure and massage places in the trail towns. No, not to polish the little suckers, or necessarily rid them of their calluses, but for some good ole' pampering. Pedicurists always give a foot massage.

    There are many uses for discretionary income on the trail --- Sue
    "there is no price too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself" - R. Kipling

  20. #20
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    I wear my hiking shoes much of the time (I've not had foot problems to speak of). I got a set of Superfeet insoles b/c I saw a post that they were great. My Garmonts (hikers) probably already had really nice insoles anyway which I removed. The Superfeet required a day or two of use the way new boots do to break them in. Once mine were used a little they quickly became comfortable. Does anyone use sock liners? I've heard that they reduce the incidence of blisters. There's a lot to be learned as a newbie and I'm thankful for everyone's input.

    Stretch

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