hiking boots for children's

How to Keep Your Kids’ Feet Happy and Healthy on the Trail?

Hiking is a great way to enjoy nature, get some exercise, and bond with your family. But it can also be hard on your kids’ feet, especially if they are wearing the wrong shoes. Childrens hiking boots are designed to provide support, traction, and protection for your little adventurers, but they can also cause some issues if they are not fitted properly or cared for well.

In this article, we will cover some of the most common problems that kids face when wearing hiking boots, and how to prevent and treat them effectively.

Blisters

Blisters are one of the most common and annoying problems that hikers of all ages face.

They are caused by friction between the skin and the shoe, which creates a fluid-filled bubble that can be painful and prone to infection. Blisters can be prevented by following these tips:

Choose the right size and fit of children’s hiking boots for your kids

They should not be too tight or too loose, and they should have enough room for their toes to wiggle. You can measure their feet at home or at a store, and try on different brands and models to find the best fit.

Break in the boots before hitting the trail

New boots can be stiff and cause more friction than worn-in ones. You can help your kids break in their boots by having them wear them around the house or on short walks for a few days before going on a longer hike.

Wear the right socks

Socks can make a big difference in preventing blisters, as they provide cushioning, moisture-wicking, and breathability. Avoid cotton socks, which can retain sweat and cause chafing. Instead, opt for synthetic or wool socks that are designed for hiking. You can also layer two pairs of socks: a thin liner sock that fits snugly against the skin, and a thicker outer sock that provides more padding.

Apply lubricant or tape

If your kids are prone to blisters, you can apply some lubricant or tape to their feet before putting on their socks and boots.

Lubricants, such as petroleum jelly or body glide, can reduce friction and prevent hot spots. Tapes, such as moleskin or athletic tape, can protect areas that are already blistered or likely to blister.

If your kids do get blisters, you can treat them by following these steps:

  • Clean the blister with soap and water or an antiseptic wipe.
  • If the blister is intact, do not pop it. Instead, cover it with a bandage or a blister pad to protect it from further irritation.
  • If the blister is broken or large, you can drain it by sterilizing a needle with alcohol or fire and making a small hole at the edge of the blister. Gently squeeze out the fluid and apply some antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Then cover it with a bandage or a blister pad.
  • Change the bandage or pad daily and keep the blister clean and dry until it heals.

Sprains

Sprains are injuries to the ligaments that connect bones in a joint. They are usually caused by twisting or rolling the ankle while walking on uneven terrain.

Sprains can range from mild to severe, depending on how much damage is done to the ligaments. Sprains can be prevented by following these tips:

Choose children’s hiking boots that provide good ankle support and stability

Look for boots that have a high-cut or mid-cut design that wraps around the ankle and prevents it from moving too much. You can also look for boots that have a stiff sole and a shank (a metal or plastic piece that runs along the arch of the boot) that provide more rigidity and prevent twisting.

Lace-up the boots properly

Make sure your kids’ boots are laced up snugly but not too tightly, as this can affect blood circulation and cause numbness or swelling. You can also use different lacing techniques to adjust the fit of the boot around the ankle and heel.

Strengthen your kids’ ankles and feet

You can help your kids improve their balance and coordination by doing some exercises that target their ankles and feet. For example, you can have them stand on one leg for 10 seconds, then switch legs; walk on their toes and then on their heels; or roll their ankles in circles clockwise and counterclockwise.

Warm up before hiking

You can help your kids prepare their muscles and joints for hiking by doing some warm-up exercises before hitting the trail. For example, you can have them do some jumping jacks, squats, lunges, or leg swings.

If your kids do get sprains, you can treat them by following these steps:

  • Stop hiking and rest the injured ankle. Do not try to walk on a sprained ankle, as this can worsen the injury and delay healing.
  • Apply ice to the ankle for 15 to 20 minutes every hour for the first 24 hours. This can help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Wrap the ankle with an elastic bandage or a compression sleeve to provide support and limit movement.
  • Elevate the ankle above the level of the heart when possible. This can help reduce swelling and blood pooling.
  • Give your kids some pain relievers if needed, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Follow the dosage instructions on the label and consult your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Seek medical attention if the sprain is severe or does not improve within a few days.
hiking boots for children's
hiking boots for children’s

Fungus

Fungus is a type of microorganism that thrives in warm, moist environments like sweaty shoes and socks.

Fungus can cause infections such as athlete’s foot (a rash that affects the skin between the toes) or toenail fungus (a condition that causes thickening, discoloration, or crumbling of the nails). Fungus can be prevented by following these tips:

Keep your kids’ feet clean and dry

Wash their feet with soap and water every day and dry them thoroughly, especially between the toes. You can also apply some talcum powder or cornstarch to their feet before putting on their socks and boots to absorb moisture.

Change their socks often

Socks can get damp from sweat or water during hiking, which creates an ideal environment for fungus to grow. You should change your kids’ socks at least once a day or whenever they get wet.

Air out their boots after hiking

Boots can also harbor fungus if they are not dried properly after use. You should remove any insoles or liners from their boots and let them air out in a well-ventilated area away from direct sunlight.

Avoid sharing footwear with others

Fungus can spread from person to person through contact with infected shoes or socks. You should not let your kids borrow or lend their footwear with others.

If your kids do get fungus infections, you can treat them by following these steps:

  • Apply an over-the-counter antifungal cream or spray to the affected area twice a day for two to four weeks. Follow the instructions on the label and consult your doctor if you have any questions.
  • Trim their toenails regularly if they have toenail fungus. Cut them straight across and file down any thickened areas.
  • Discard any old shoes or socks that may be contaminated with fungus.
  • Seek medical attention if the infection does not improve within four weeks.

Other Problems

Besides blisters, sprains, and fungus infections, there are some other problems that may affect your kids’ feet when wearing hiking boots:

Ingrown toenails

This is when a toenail grows into the skin instead of over it, causing pain, swelling, redness, and sometimes infection. Ingrown toenails can be caused by cutting nails too short or too curved; wearing shoes that are too tight; injuring the nail; or having naturally curved nails.

  • To prevent ingrown toenails: Cut nails straight across; wear shoes that fit well; avoid injuring nails; check nails regularly for signs of ingrowth.
  • To treat ingrown toenails: Soak feet in warm water with salt; gently lift nail edge with cotton; apply antibiotic ointment; cover with bandage; seek medical attention if infected.

Corns

These are hard patches of skin that form on areas of pressure or friction, such as toes rubbing against shoes or each other.Corns can be painful and interfere with walking.

  • To prevent corns: Wear shoes that fit well; use toe separators; apply moisturizer to feet; file down corns gently with pumice stone.
  • To treat corns: Soak feet in warm water; file down corns gently with pumice stone; apply salicylic acid pads; cover with bandage; seek medical attention if infected or bleeding.

Warts

These are small growths caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) that can appear anywhere on the skin but often occur on feet.

Warts are usually harmless but may be unsightly or uncomfortable.They may also spread to other parts of the body or other people through contact.

  • Avoid walking barefoot in public places, such as locker rooms, showers, pools, or gyms. These places can be contaminated with HPV and expose your feet to the virus. Wearing shoes or flip-flops can help protect your feet and prevent plantar warts.
  • Boost your immune system. A healthy immune system can help fight off HPV and prevent warts from developing or recurring. You can boost your immune system by eating a balanced diet, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and managing stress.
  • Get vaccinated against HPV. There are vaccines available that can protect against some strains of HPV that cause warts and other diseases, such as cervical cancer. The vaccines are recommended for children and young adults aged 9 to 26 years old. Talk to your doctor about whether you or your kids are eligible for the HPV vaccine.

If your kids do get warts, you can treat them by following these steps:

  • Try an over-the-counter wart remover. There are products available that contain salicylic acid or freeze the wart off with liquid nitrogen. These products can be effective for small or mild warts, but they may take several weeks or months to work. Follow the instructions on the label and consult your doctor if you have any questions.
  • See a dermatologist for stronger treatments. If over-the-counter products do not work or cause irritation, you may need to see a dermatologist for more aggressive treatments. These may include:
    • Prescription-strength salicylic acid or other topical medications
    • Cryotherapy (freezing the wart with liquid nitrogen)
    • Electrosurgery (burning the wart with an electric needle)
    • Laser therapy (destroying the wart with a laser beam)
    • Immunotherapy (injecting the wart with a substance that triggers an immune response)
    • Surgery (cutting out the wart)
  • Follow up with your dermatologist until the wart is gone. Some warts may require multiple treatments or combinations of treatments to clear up completely. You should keep seeing your dermatologist until the wart is gone and follow their advice on how to prevent a recurrence.

Conclusion

Hiking boots for children are great for exploring the outdoors with your family, but they can also cause some problems for your kids’ feet if they are not fitted properly or cared for well.

By following the tips in this article, you can help prevent and treat common issues such as blisters, sprains, fungus infections, and warts, and keep your kids’ feet happy and healthy on the trail.