Feet swelling is one thing that happens during a hike. There are many reasons why feet swelling can happen. But before that, I will answer one question which is common in occasional hikers is how much do feet swell when hiking? This is one popular question among new hikers. So, if you are one who doesn’t know how much feet swell when hiking then don’t worry today I will answer all the questions in a simple way. The answer is my own personal experience and i9 have asked some of my friends to know about their experience. The methods are written below also are some common methods that I use myself whenever I experience foot swelling during the hike.
How much do feet swell when hiking ?
Well, it depends from person to person that how much their feet swell when hiking. Swollen feet is one common thing to happen during the hike. The reason for that is a change in blood flow due to compression of tissue in your feet. There could be other issues also that can lead to swollen feet.
Why feet swell during hiking
The number one reason for feet swelling is pressure or compassion that occurs due to tight socks. Socks compress the skin and limit the blood flow to the feet.
Now, this is something new for some people. But this is another main reason why feet swell when hiking. In simple words, our body is very active in preparing the broken tissue in the body. When we start hiking, the pressure builds on the tissues or the feet, which enlarges the blood vessels. In return, this will eliminate the fluid from that part of the feet and thus lead to swelling. It is similar to a workout, in which the body starts its recovery process immediately after the workout, in which the broken muscle tissue is repaired by increasing the blood flow to that part of the body.
Another common reason for foot swelling is regular hiking in one Trijactory. The amount of pressure on the feet and ankles increases when you hike in incline or decline trail for long hours. This will rush the water in the triggered part of your feet which leads to swelling. You become aware of it when you pop out your feet from your shoes after long hours.
What to do to stop swelling.
You can do many things to stop swelling and help the body increase the recovery process. Every hiker experience mild swelling during their once. So, every hiker needs to know what to do in a situation like that when you see your feet swelling during the hike.
Give some air to feet
This is a must and one of the things to do immediately. Air is important as the hiking shoes and socks will create moisture inside which leads to feet swelling. So, give some air to your feet after a while, this means take breaks and just lift your feet up to let the air pass through. Not only your feet but also make sure to dry out your shoes or socks before continuing your further journey.
Put ice or cold water
Ice is helpful and the best way to decrease blood flow in the swollen part of your feet. Not only that it also helps in providing relief from the pain. It’s the most effective as a lot of athletes use ice to recover from injury fast and get relief from pain after an injury. In case you don’t have ice bags with you on the hike, you can use cold water as an alternative option.
Well, it may be surprising but why food is suggested? You may think. Well, that’s because to get some salt in your body. As hikers drink a lot of water during their hike and sometimes they drink only water and avoid eating any food which decreases the level of salt which is important for water to dissolve. Food is very important, and make sure it has enough salt and energy for your hike.
If your feet are swelling too much then it is important to put compress that part of your feet to push the fluid away from that part of the feet. The best way to do this is by applying and snug bandage.
Rest your leg in an elevated position
This is another way that can decrease the blood flow in that particular area of your feet. To do that, just hold your leg or feet high above you. You can rest your feet by putting something under your leg to avoid aching. Just make sure your leg or feet is above in an upward direction.
When it becomes serious
Though commonly, a lot of hikers experience swelling during hikes, but sometimes it becomes serious and demands some extra medical attention from doctors. There could be several health issues also that can cause feet swelling such as heart failure, any disease, etc. If you experience anything like that discussed below, you must seek medical attention.
If you experience extreme pain in your swollen feet then that may be some critical issue rather than an ordinary pain. After doing everything if you experience high pain and problem in walking then it becomes important for you to seek doctor help.
Feet swelling after hours
Another is that your feet don’t stop swelling after hours or after doing everything discussed above. Then also, you should go to a doctor because hiking may not be the reason for that, it’s something related to health.
Sometimes swelling doesn’t stop if you have an injury or experience some during the hike. Any injury that has an impact on the bone may lead to continued foot swelling.
How to hike to reduce swelling
However, there are some things that you can do to prevent swelling or reduce the chances of it happing in the first place.
Use hiking poles
If you are a hiker then you need to have a pair of hiking poles with you whenever you go hiking. It helps in limiting the pressure on your knees and helps you avoid foot swelling by limiting the pressure on your feet.
Wear the right socks
Socks are very important for any hiker to avoid feet swelling when hiking. You need crossed breathable socks of the correct length that don’t compress the blood vessels. Besides that, socks must be breathable so that the air passes through them.
Wear the right size of shoes
You may have a pair of the best hiking shoes but are they fit? Do your shoes fit you rarely, or are they too big for you? Well, this uneven combination can also lead to feet swelling. So, it’s best to get the right pair in the first pick. To know more about this check out this article-How to Tell if Hiking Boots are too Big ?
To prevent deep swelling, take regular breaks after some time, especially when you are going on a long hike that has a rough and rocky surface. Taking breaks in between will allow the feet to rest and reduce the pressure on a particular part of the feet.