Climbing can become a challenge if your feet ache and your shoes are neglected, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a veteran. Taking care of your feet is a precautionary measure you must take even if you do not experience any pain or injury.
If you are contemplating how your next climbing adventure will be, many questions will come to your mind; what are common foot injuries you are likely to sustain when climbing? When climbing, how can you deal with foot problems? The answer depends on how you care for your feet. Get an insight into how to take care of your feet while performing rock climbing for a successful experience. To know about the most common climbing shoes and how to prevent them, check out this article.
If you have been rock climbing, how should you take care of your feet? Cleaning and moisturizing your feet following a climb is important. To get rid of dead skin cells on your heels, toes, and in between your toes, you can also use a pumice stone. In addition to preventing scarring and blisters on your feet, this also restores your feet’s health and wellbeing.
In case of injury, the RICE method involves the following: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation; Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation of the injured foot. Massage and foam rolling can also be used to treat sore and injured feet caused by rock climbing.
Tight climbing shoes can cause many injuries
Climbers experience foot pain regardless of the type of high-performance shoes they are wearing. The majority of climbers also wear tight and bendy shoes in the hope that their climbing experience will improve with time. Mild toe pain, however, can disappear within hours, but if preventative measures are not followed, it may not ease. Some common injuries after rock climbing include:
- Toes swell and become stiff over time
You use your feet and hands the most when rock climbing. They support you when climbing as well as propel you higher by pressing against the rocks. A chronic swelling may occur when tension builds up around them. A condition like this can lead to osteoarthritis, which can permanently cramp your climbing abilities.
- Ankle sprains and Achilles tendinitis
You’ll have to conform your foot to the wrong shoe size when you wear the wrong one. This interferes with the biomechanical position of your foot within the shoe. The medial column of your foot may also be affected. Long-term wear of tight-fitting shoes can lead to Achilles tendinitis and ankle sprains.
- Hallux Valgus or Bunions Deformity
As a result of wearing tight and narrow shoes, your big toe becomes laterally deviated, resulting in a bunion. A bony lump may develop within the great toe joint as a result. Climbers’ bunions become so painful that only a butcher using an orthopedic chisel can remove them.
- Hammertoes, pitted keratosis, and sesmoiditus
Climbing shoes that are too tight can cause catastrophic injuries, such as corns, pitted keratosis, sesmoiditus, hammertoes, and metatarsalgia, among others. As a result of repetitive activities and limited breaks, joints and toes are overstretched, leading to abnormal mechanical stresses on the feet.
- Skin that is dry, flaky, and dead
You can never prevent your feet from drying out and becoming dead no matter how hard you try. Shoes that are too tight make it worse because they don’t allow your feet to breathe.
How to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Foot Problems From Climbing
The tight-fitting shoes rock climbers prefer are hoped to stretch with time. Shoes conform to foot shape and structure as expected. However, your feet could develop irreversible problems that would cost a lot of money to fix. Consider these tips to reduce the likelihood of developing foot problems.
- You should make sure your shoes are the right size
Don’t believe what veteran climbers tell you about tight shoes. Get a shoe fitter to determine your size, depending on the summit you intend to climb. Additionally, choosing a shoe made of the right material will determine your comfort.
2. Prepare yourself for rock climbing by warming up
Warm-ups will prepare your feet for climbing activity if you have taken a long break from climbing. Try massages and stretching exercises to prepare your feet. Thus, blisters on your feet as a result of excessive friction between your sock and your skin will be a thing of the past.
3. You should always use heel hooks and toe hooks when climbing
You will have foot problems based on how you place your feet when rock climbing. When you can, pull rather than push with your feet to exert more energy for your arms. Utilize your legs to initiate the movement and climb upward to improve your performance.
How to Take Care of Your Toenails
During rock climbing, you are likely to experience toenail problems due to wearing tight shoes. Thickness, brittleness, or displacement from the nail bed are all signs of thickening or brittleness of your nails. An ingrown toenail is caused by the constant pressure of tight shoes and poor nail care. Moreover, some climbers can contract fungal nail infections from warm, moist, and dark environments and here are a few tips to help you:
Rock climbers of all genders know that getting a pedicure is a great way to keep their toenails healthy and ready for their next climb. To prevent a potential fungal infection and keep your toenails in good health, special nail care products are used.
b. Practicing basic hygiene
If you cannot afford a pedicure or don’t have time to visit one, practicing basic hygiene will help. Make sure you remove dead skin from your heels and between your toenails while you shower with a pumice stone. Nails that are too long may become brittle at certain points, so it is advisable to cut them off. You can apply lotion to cracked toenails daily as well as wear soft socks to prevent them from breaking.
It is possible to prevent various toenail conditions by eating a healthy diet. Naturally gelatinous foods, such as Jello, and fruit snacks, can contribute to the growth of healthy nails. You can also purchase supplements to strengthen your nails.
Keeping Your Feet Clean by Washing Them
You may experience foot problems if your feet are unclean. While soap and water are the main tools for washing your feet, they may not eliminate problems like corns and fungal infections. For scrubbing dead skin cells and other ingredients like vinegar, creams, and lotions, you still need a pumice stone. Using clippers to trim or cut your toenails will also help you keep them clean and free of germs. Wear open sandals to allow your feet to breathe after you have cleaned them. Dry your feet with a towel after cleaning them.
Using these tips will reduce your risk of foot injury before and after a climb
Regardless of the summit you are planning on climbing, aftercare of the feet is essential. Taking your shoes or feet for granted will result in more injuries, which could hamper your climbing performance. You can prevent blisters and other foot problems by taking care of your feet as follows:
Measures taken before climbing
You climb better if you wear a certain type of shoe. You should speak with a reputable shoe fitter that offers expert advice before you purchase. The process becomes more challenging when you are unfamiliar with tight shoes. Be sure to look for shoes that aren’t too loose or too tight.
A qualified shoe fitter should be able to tell you what materials each shoe is made from and how far the shoe can stretch. Synthetic shoes are less elastic than leather shoes. The amount of rubber used will determine how far the shoe can stretch. If you are a beginner, you should buy flat lasted shoes with a fairly supportive rubber coating. Your feet won’t feel the pressure of rock climbing.
If your feet behave in a certain way after rock climbing, this is an indication of whether or not you have injured them.
Whenever you have an injury, you should follow the principles of RICE, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Try to rest as much as you can until the pain subsides. When you are injured, do not even consider climbing. Place ice packs on the area for up to 30 minutes to reduce inflammation. Use a towel to compress the injured area to reduce swelling. Elevate it above your heart to reduce pain. Besides deep tissue massage and foam rolling, other methods for preventing foot injuries include stretching. Although stretching can be painful, it will help ease muscular tension.
No matter whether you are into recreational or competitive rock climbing, caring for your feet is an essential skill you must master. To minimize the risk of foot injuries, you need to groom your feet before every climbing experience. If you pay attention to everything you have read in this article, how rock climbing affects feet will be the least of your concerns.
Frequently Asked Questions ( FAQs):
How do climbers take care of their feet?
Climbers take care off their feet in the following ways:
Find the right shoes
feet act as one
Clean your shoes
Check for worn down insoles, rubber, and even rotting legs
Take your shoes off between climbs
Clean your hand and feet before climbing
Are rock climbing shoes bad for your feet?
You should expect your climbing shoes to feel tight at first, especially if they are supposed to stretch out over time. You shouldn’t have any trouble walking in the shoes, especially if you have had the chance to break them in over a period of several weeks.
How do tendons heal after rock climbing?
Treatment options include rest, ice, splinting, and physical therapy. Typically, people tape that finger to provide extra support when climbing after the pulley has healed. As well as tearing or stretching the tendons that run underneath the pulley, climbing can stretch or tear those underneath the pulleys.
How do rock climbers strengthen their feet?
To know how rock climber strengthen their feet, check out this video.