Coachella Valley is something of a hiker’s paradise, especially in winter. Whether you’re planning to scale San Jacinto or take a more relaxed stroll down a local trail, there are plenty of opportunities to get some exercise, explore both urban and natural scenery, and encounter the desert wildlife.
Unfortunately, heel pain can often accompany a hike, forcing you to cut your day short or push on through the pain. We want you to avoid either of those woeful outcomes, so here are some tips for keeping your heels pain free on the trail:
- Get some lightweight, comfortable, breathable, well-fitting hiking boots or shoes that provide the support and cushioning you need, particularly for your heel and arch. Stop by a specialty hiking or shoe store if you need help finding the right fit.
- Get your feet evaluated by Dr. Danciger to see if you could benefit from additional shoe inserts, such as heel cups or custom orthotics. Such tools can help relieve pressure on your heels caused by accommodating or correcting structural defects in your feet.
- Travel light. While there are some essentials you should never go without (plenty of water, charged cell phone, flashlight, map or GPS, first aid supplies, etc.), try to cut out the non-essentials and stick with lightweight gear when possible. The more weight you carry, the greater the pounding on your heels with each step.
- Take frequent breaks to rest and elevate your feet, especially when you feel swelling or throbbing.
- Know your limitations. If you find that your feet aren’t holding up to your hikes, take a break for a while and then scale back the distance or find a trail with less climbing and more even terrain. Find a place where you’re comfortable and work back up to tougher hikes as you are able.
- Take along some ibuprofen in case you really need it.
Dr. Harvey Danciger is a podiatrist in Palm Desert, CA who has been helping hikers like you manage their heel pain so they can stay on the trail. If you’re dealing with stubborn foot pain, let us help you diagnose the issue and prescribe the correct corrective treatments. To schedule an appointment, contact our office online or give us a call at 760-568-0108.