How to take care of your feet if you’re a mountain and trekking aficionado.

What’s more relaxing than a fabulous mountain escape, away from the city’s heat and chaos?

Keeping an eye on summer storms that may sometimes turn out be a little dangerous in mountainous areas, mountain walks are a great way to soothe the body and the mind. Just make sure you do it the right way!

Even though the mountains are for everyone, some preparatory training may prove useful in the chance of difficult situations occurring in this environment. Walking in the mountains often means taking irregular, unbeaten tracks that require quick reflexes and steady muscles.

Well-toned lower limb muscles and a well-trained ankle proprioception are therefore of vital importance. Muscles, along with a strong ankle proprioception, are not only important to keep up the strain during walks, but are essential to respond readily to any inconvenience that may arise while trekking, so avoiding sprains or, in the worst-case scenario, fractures. In case of previous distortions, I strongly discourage you to take the risk of venturing on mountain trails. If the rehabilitation process had not been adequately taken care of, the ankle’s response to a stimulus or movement (i.e. proprioception) may be poor, increasing the risk of another sprain that may result as being even worse than the previous one.

Also, be well-aware of your closest travel partner: your equipment. Use suitable footwear! Adequate footwear is a must on mountain walks: boots should envelop the ankles, stabilizing and holding your feet firmly in place. But do not exaggerate: excessively tight shoes run the risk of causing foot nail injuries, particularly on the toe nail; (typically, this occurs in cases in which climbers privilege tight shoes in order to have a better grip on rocky surfaces). In addition, the repeated mechanic stress may cause fungal nail infection, though in this case it wouldn’t be caused by a fungi but by the friction of the toe with the shoe.

On a final note, let me remind you of the importance of stretching the gastrocnemius muscle. This action may help prevent the undesired plantar fasciitis, a very common and dreaded state especially among trekking enthusiasts! The stretching session must be carried out repeatedly during the day (even up to 5 times per day for 5 minutes), and should aim to free back leg muscles (the gastrocnemius), so avoiding plantar annoyances. Heel liners in our shoes (silicon ones for example), or heels that do not exceed 3 cm may also prove helpful, avoiding a time-consuming and pretty fastidious situation.
So everybody get your backpacks on and off we go!