Walking and Your Feet

Looking after your feet is a priority especially if you are a keen walker/hiker. If you are in pain before during or after you walk it is the body’s way of telling you that there is something wrong. An appointment with a Podiatrist would be recommended to assess, diagnose and treat the problem to get you back to normal.

Often, the cause of an injury is due to changing in demands placed on the body, this could be something as minor as a change in footwear. If a number of changes have been made, there may be more instances of pain or injury.


Nails should be trimmed straight across without curving the corners of the nail as this can lead to ingrown toenails.

Long distance or regular walkers may experience a bleed underneath the nail bed which is called a subungual haematoma. The toenail will become blackened and start to detach from the nail bed. It is rare that the nail will detach back to the nail bed and it would be wise to secure the nail with some tape or a plaster to prevent the nail from catching on your socks or shoes. If the nail is causing pain or discomfort, a Podiatrist will be able to painlessly remove it for you.


Blisters, we’ve all had them and know how very uncomfortable they can be. Prevention is the key with blisters and dual layer socks are a great investment. Friction on the skin surface is eliminated as the inner layer moves with the foot and the outer layer with the shoe. As with normal socks, it’s important to change them once they become damp.

If you feel a blister developing you need to stop walking immediately, remove your shoes and socks and examine your feet. Apply a breathable waterproof plaster or consider applying some material padding or cushioning. If the blister has developed, you will need to avoid any further friction to allow it to heal which will usually taken 3-7 days. An open blister can be treated with an antiseptic ointment and protective gel dressing to prevent any infection and to speed up the healing process. If the blister is bothering you but isn’t yet open, try to avoid the temptation to do it yourself! Cut a hole in a piece of foam or felt to form a doughnut shape over the blister. Tape it in place with a soft gel dressing and it will be protected from any further friction.


When walking/hiking it is likely that you will be doing this over uneven terrain, it is key when picking a walking boot that you choose one with good traction. Another important factor that should be considered when choosing a walking boot is how waterproof they are. A good boot should keep your feet dry should you encounter poor weather or puddles on your walk. Keeping your feet dry can help prevent different foot conditions.

Whichever shoe/boot you do pick it is important to make sure that they fit well, well fitting shoes will help prevent any rubbing or discomfort that could lead to blisters. Testing and wearing them in before a big walk is helpful, try taking big strides, climbing the stairs, checking the ankle support. This can be a good indicator into whether these are the right pair of shoes before they have had the chance to cause any pain or discomfort.


Orthotics are often used for treatment of pain in the back, hips and knees and to rehabilitate lower limb injuries. Orthotics can be purchased online and in sports retailers but orthotics that haven’t been fitted correctly can cause more damage than good. It is recommended that orthotics are purchased from a Podiatrist to ensure the perfect fit and to make sure the orthotic is doing the job required of it.

Seek help if you need it 

There is always an underlying cause of pain and as we mentioned before, pain is the body’s way of telling us that something is wrong. A biomechanical problem can be the cause of foot, ankle, knee, hip or back pain and many of these aches and pains can be traced back to the foot.

General aching is normal after a long walk but sharp and uncomfortable pain could be the sign of an injury. An appointment with a Podiatrist can assess, diagnose and treat the problem and have you back to your best in no time at all.