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"One kilometre on foot wears out your shoes for good..."
So what about a long day of hiking? Or even worse: what about a walk in stages, over several days, or even weeks? Well it hurts your feet! Blisters, black nails, tendinitis... So many pains and wounds that could compromise your adventure. So here are some expert tips to protect your feet, avoid all those discomforts and reach your ultimate goal without a stone in your shoe.
OUR TEAM OF EXPERTS:
Marie MALIGORNE: is in charge of the Sidas Sports Orthopaedic Centre, she advises dozens of hikers every year who are preparing to set off on the paths of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle, the GR 20 or treks abroad.
FOUTRAK: Wildly enthusiastic about freedom and wide open spaces, Foutrak has a hiker's CV as long as her arm and as muscular as her legs. From Mont Blanc to Annapurna, from the Vanoise Glaciers to Madeira Island, she shares her vision and passion for trekking with thousands of her followers on Instagram.
Clément SCALLIET: is a physiotherapist and osteopath based in Lyon. He does business with all who are passionate about sport: athletes with Olympic ambitions to Sunday runners. He therefore knows well all the reactions of a moving body.
We’re not born to hike, we can’t pretend to be a hiker, we become one. By accumulating kilometres and days of walking.
Preparation before a goal is therefore crucial to its success. Marie Maligorne is categorical: “It is not innate for modern man to walk 20 to 30 kilometres on a daily basis, on winding roads, even less so over several days.” This is all the more valid for the feet, the part of the body most solicited during a hike. If some have sea legs, the hiker must fashion mountain legs.
To be well prepared, would be:
→ Days of walking in advance, as training. Accustoming your feet to difference in heights, to climbs, descents, uncertain supports ... “The higher the objective, the more training and preparation must be applied,” confirms Foutrak, before moving on: “It is necessary to test on short hikes. Before going on an expedition, it is essential to spend at least one night in a shelter.” To see if our feet can take it and if we appreciate the atmosphere.
→ A complete check-up of your feet. Just as you revise a car before a long rally, you must pamper your feet before the start. Foutrak recommends “a pedicure a month before” when Marie suggests the technique of “tanning”: “Massaging your feet during the days before the hike, alternating daily lemon juice and moisturizer. A household remedy to make the skin very resistant without drying it.”
Foutrak affirms with the tone of one who has already made the bitter experience of some errors: “Even before leaving, you can already know if the hike will turn out well or not!” Like preparation, anticipation is a key to success.
Good anticipation is therefore:
→ “Do not leave room for the unexpected!” Not even any improvisation. “All shelters or campsites must be booked in advance, note the itinerary on paper in the absence of a network, and identify sources of water and small grocery stores beforehand. Because we often tend to weigh down the bag as a precaution and therefore hurt our feet whereas the supply points are actually very regular...”
An old reflex pushes us to believe that new equipment will be more beneficial because it’s more efficient, more resistant... “Not at all!” corrects Foutrak. “The most important thing is to feel at ease with your equipment, to know it, to have experienced it, to have got used to it...”
For a good mastery of your material:
Like the Tour de France cyclist who mounts his bike every day, the hiker resumes his path each morning. So that this moment remains a pleasure and not a constraint, it is essential to optimize recovery, once the day of hiking has ended.
A good recovery is:
Respect these few tips to protect your feet during multi-day hikes, is the guarantee of leaving each morning with freshness, as if it was the first day, and the desire to enjoy it, as if it was the last.