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Here in the mountains, we jam our feet into stiff ski boots, hammer them on trail runs and hikes, and squeeze them into tiny climbing shoes. What are some common ailments of the active community and why is it so important to take care of our feet?
Our feet form the base of our upright existence. Whether we are walking, running, or standing it is our feet that support our bodies, help us balance, and propel us forward in our activities. The feet and ankles are the most complex part of our locomotion and are, therefore, susceptible to many ailments, he adds. Because of this we need to pay a bit more attention to caring for our feet and ankles.
Active individuals, whether they are hiking, biking, running, or skiing, are at risk of developing problems with their feet. Some problems develop over time with increased activity, such as plantar fasciitis, tendon problems or stress fractures. We see these problems more with repetitive motion activities, such running and hiking. Other problems result from trauma, such as Achilles tendon ruptures, ligament tears, or ankle fractures. These injuries are more common with court or field sports like football, tennis and soccer, as well as with snow sports like skiing or snowboarding.
Preparing for the day’s activity, be it training, competition, or standing all day at work should start with the right equipment - namely your footwear. I recommend making sure that your gear fits appropriately. If those running shoes have too many miles on them, then it’s time for some new ones. If they are right out of the box, they will typically need a ‘break in’ period.
Outdoor enthusiasts are often so eager to jump into the new season that they go straight from skiing to biking without missing a beat. If it’s the transition between seasons or you’re trying an entirely new activity, your body will need a ‘break in’ period. Start those new activities slower and easier and build-up gradually to the level you want to get to. We are prone to ‘training errors’ when we jump right into the new sport and don’t allow our feet to get used to the new stresses that activity places on them.