On a recent hike to Leigh Lake in northwestern Montana, I implemented my new hiking regimen that involves stretching before during and after a rigorous hike. As always, I found that not only is it possible to hike with plantar fasciitis, hiking can actually alleviate some of the symptoms of chronic heel pain, if you take the proper steps:
|Leigh Lake near Libby, Montana|
2. If you have orthotics for your everyday shoes, don't forget to transfer them to your hiking boots/shoes.
3. Lightly stretch before you start the hike, but don't stretch to the point of pain.
4. Shortly after you begin your hike, once you have warmed up your muscles, stop and do a more thorough stretching regimen. Don't just stretch your feet; stretch your calves also.
5. Continue to take stretching breaks throughout your hike. One of the best stretches is to find a rock, root, or mound and elevate the front portion of your foot. Then gradually add more weight and lean into the stretch. Do this slowly and don't bounce on it.
6. Once your hike is over, stretch one last time, while your muscles, tendons, and fascia is still warm. If possible, ice the bottom of your foot after stretching.
7. Sometimes, it is helpful to take anti-inflammatory medicine before your hike.
Of course you should refrain from hiking and other rigorous exercise if your doctor advises you to do so. It is also unwise to try and "hike through the pain." If your foot continues to hurt, it's time to stop hiking and visit your doctor.
Otherwise, get outside and enjoy a good hike.