3 Easy Hiking Foot Stretches

I feel there is not enough attention given to foot care. All this focus on what gear on our backs, but often the item that gets used the most gets neglected.  If you take care of your 'dogs', they will be a lot happier at the end of the day.   Most times these are the ingredients for a successful and enjoyable hiking trip.

Here are my top 3 foot stretches that should be done several times a day for prevention, well as treatment.  These should also be done in part of our everyday lifestyle regiment. 

General rule of thumb:  Start of/mid day -5 second holds.  End of day 10+ second holds. 

Foot yoga
While standing with a straight back, put a leg behind you and turn the foot upside down; primary pressure on your toes, pressing them into the floor.  Focus on feeling a stretch in the toes, through the top of your foot, into the shins.   Alternate legs. (can also be done seated)

foot yoga
Cross legs and hold one foot with the hand opposite to it (shown different for photo).  Interlace fingers between your toes and spread toes. Repeat on other foot.  This stretches the muscles of the toes, well as the underfoot/pad area. 

foot yoga
Using a smooth rock, ball or rolling pin,  gently put pressure into the arch of the foot while seated (beginner) or standing (advanced).  You may increase pressure with time.  Massage slowly, feel all the muscled of the feet wrap around the object; trying to splay your toes open and downward throughout the stretch. 

Foot care in the backcountry is super important for a successful hiking trip. Make sure you check out my article on taking care of your feet while on the trail.

Disclaimer:  Barefoot Jake is not a doctor.  Use common sense.  If it hurts, stop doing it.  By starting very slowly, you can get greater feedback on your body.  Generally use the 48 hour rule, to gauge soreness.  Always stay hydrated when doing any stretching/exercise.

Updated by Barefoot Jake in Feburary 2016