Fall is the best time to be in the Northeast Florida woods, but miles of walking the trails will have some hunters and hikers seeking foot pain relief.
Whether you’ve been experiencing foot pain throughout the year or not, logging more miles than usual on your feet can exacerbate the smallest injuries. It’s important to address foot and ankle issues sooner rather than later. Heal pain, arch pain, or open foot wounds can quickly develop into major problems if ignored.
While Florida isn’t known for steep climbs, the terrain can prove challenging enough to strain muscles and tendons in the feet and ankles. Strength conditioning can help reduce the risk of foot and ankle injuries when traipsing across undulating or slippery ground, but choosing proper footwear also makes a difference. Cross-training and athletic shoes don’t necessarily provide adequate support for hiking. Dr. Pereira says, “Some of my patients would not have suffered ankle sprains or strained Achilles tendons had they been wearing well-made hiking boots designed for tackling tough terrain.”
As with most injuries, prevention beats treatment. Investing in a good pair of hiking boots can go miles toward helping you enjoy the outdoors pain-free. Choose well-insulated, moisture-proof boots that will keep your feet dry and warm as the air turns colder. Also look for those that feature steel or graphite shanks to offer additional support. “The supportive shank decreases strain on the arch by allowing the boot to distribute impact,” says Dr. Pereira.
If you’re already experiencing foot pain after a long hike or hunt, it’s time to contact a foot and ankle specialist like Dr. Pereira. Most importantly, do not continue to hike through the pain. Your body is sending a signal that something isn’t right, and the last thing you want to do is make matters worse. Trying to get out there one more time could result in you being sidelined for months if your injury goes from bad to worse.
Pushing a strained Achilles too far can cause it to rupture. Heel pain could be an early sign of plantar fasciitis. Continuing to put pressure on stress fractures can result in a complete break of the foot.
If you’ve recently been out on a hunt or a hike, and you find yourself experiencing tolerable foot pain, now is the best time to have it checked out by a specialist. Proper foot pain treatment could save your season. Dr. Pereira’s goal is always to help patients experience the best possible outcome. In your case, that could mean just a few weeks of treatment before you’re back out in the woods living the life you love.